Business Wire

SOMERS, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 12, 1998--IBM today announced the signing of an $85 million contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to build the world's fastest supercomputer.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Federico Pena announced the contract today during a major policy address at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The IBM RS/6000 SP, the technology behind Deep Blue's successful challenge of chess grand master Garry Kasparov, will be capable of 10 trillion calculations per second upon its installation at Livermore in the year 2000. The computer, when complete, will be capable of calculating in a single second what would take ten million years using a hand held calculator.

The contract, announced under the DOE's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI), is the third IBM award in a program designed to build systems capable of tera-scale (trillion calculations per second) computing. These systems will enable the DOE to conduct complex modeling and simulation to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing. This new technology will also offer the DOE an eight fold increase in simulation detail compared to what is available today.

IBM plans to incorporate technological advances resulting from its ASCI development efforts into future RS/6000 products for commercial and technical customers.

``The ASCI program maps to our leadership plan for high-performance computing,'' said Nicholas M. Donofrio, IBM senior vice president, Technology & Manufacturing. ``It builds on our partnership with the DOE and it enables us to balance our near-term product advancements with investments in innovative technologies that push the boundaries of science and computing. The knowledge we gain from this initiative will translate to powerful business solutions for our customers around the world.''

For example, automotive, aerospace, medical, and oil companies may use advances in high-speed computer simulation to replace traditional engineering and science methods of experimentation and prototyping. Banks, retailers, insurers, manufacturers, healthcare, and communications providers are among the industries that stand to benefit from technological advances resulting from ASCI.

``Today's announcement is another significant milestone for RS/6000 and high-performance computing,'' said Mike Borman, general manager, IBM RS/6000. ``In this highly competitive industry, IBM's work to develop this next generation of computing will provide our customers with timely access to leading edge technology.''

``This is truly revolutionary technology. Only two years ago, no one believed that computers of this speed would be possible. The Department of Energy is pleased to have IBM as a partner in our effort to create tools that ensure the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, without underground tests. By providing this assurance, the nation can enter into a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty -- the agreement to end nuclear testing worldwide,'' said Secretary of Energy Federico Pena.

The ASCI program, initiated in 1996, provides a road map for the technological advances in computing required to fulfill the DOE high-performance computing needs. Five generations of high-performance computers, ranging from 1, 3, 10, 30, and 100 tera-flops, will be delivered over the life of the program.

Today's announcement complements two previous announcements by DOE, underscoring IBM's technology leadership and its ability to deliver advanced computing technology. Last week, President Clinton announced the DOE's ASCI PathForward initiative to build the infrastructure necessary for a 100 tera-flop computer. Under PathForward, IBM will develop high-speed switching technology for supercomputers capable of 30 to 100 trillion calculations per second. In 1996, IBM was a winner in the initial ASCI contract with the DOE and Livermore to develop a three tera-flop computer. IBM plans to deliver the system in 1999.

About IBM RS/6000

More than 600,000 IBM RS/6000 systems are in use by over 100,000 commercial and technical customers around the world. The RS/6000 is IBM's family of computers that feature the Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC)-based PowerPC chip and AIX, IBM's UNIX-based operating system.

RS/6000 products range in size and capability from workstations, workgroup, and enterprise servers, to the ``supercomputer'' RS/6000 SP. From businesses working to become more efficient and profitable, to governments and universities seeking to solve the greatest challenges of our time, RS/6000 supports a wide range of applications and provides the reliability, availability, and price/performance that today's information technology managers demand.

Additional information about IBM can be found on the IBM home page at RS/6000 product information can be found at