Getting Hotter? IBM Supercomputer Will Study Global Warming

IBM Corp. announced that the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will install and use a IBM eServer supercomputer for scientific research. ORNL's research focuses on improving the U.S. government's ability to predict long-range climate trends as well as tackle a wide spectrum of other scientific projects. ORNL hopes the supercomputer will help researchers understand how global warming may affect agricultural output and water supply levels.

The machine will incorporate IBM eServer POWER4 technology to achieve a target peak performance level of four trillion calculations per second. Nearly tripling the amount of processing power in ORNL's data centers, the IBM system is expected to rank among the world's five most powerful supercomputers when completed in early 2002. POWER4 is the advanced microprocessor that powers the next generation of IBM eServer Unix systems -- code-named "Regatta" -- which are scheduled to begin shipping later this year.

The ORNL supercomputer will be used to investigate extremely sophisticated computer models that simulate the world's climate. These computer models -- containing hundreds of thousands of lines of code -- will predict the potential impact that increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could have on crop yields, public drinking water supplies and ocean levels. Other areas expected to benefit include computational chemistry, high energy and nuclear physics and fusion energy research.

ORNL is a DOE multiprogram research facility managed by UT-Battelle.

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