Finnish CSC Selects IBM to Build Europe’s Largest Supercomputer

Joanna Doyle

The Finnish Supercomputing Center (CSC) in Helsinki has selected an IBM RS/6000 SP as its new supercomputer for the Ministry of Education. Once completed, the system will not only be the largest commercial supercomputer in Europe, it will also be the first-ever computer to be purchased with IBM’s new POWER 4 1 Ghz microprocessors.

Set to be installed this October, the system is said to be roughly 150 times faster than IBM’s celebrated Deep Blue RS/6000, developed in 1997, and is valued at an estimated 30 million Finnish marks, or $4.5 million.

“The new IBM RS/6000 SP will assist CSC in developing the ultimate in high performance computing services,” said Matti Ihamuotila, managing director of CSC. “In the long run, the vast scalability of the system architecture ensures the smooth growth of computing performance for research projects through the year 2005.”

The supercomputer will be used by both scientific researchers and commercial customers for such functions as materials physics, quantum chemistry and possibly weather forecasting. The RS/6000 SP at the CSC will rank in the top 25 worldwide supercomputing sites.