At the SC2004 supercomputing show in Pittsburgh on Monday, IBM is announcing that its Blue Gene computer—which the company has been setting up in government labs—will be commercialized.
Dubbed the eServer Blue Gene, the new system, running on IBMs Power processors, will offer up to 5.7 teraflops (or 5.7 trillion calculations per second) and will be aimed at the scientific field and businesses.
Pricing for the computer starts at $1.5 million, and IBM is taking orders now, with volume sales coming in the second quarter of 2005. In addition, users also can rent use of a Blue Gene computer through IBMs Deep Computing Capacity on Demand Center.
David Turek, vice president of IBMs Deep Computing unit, said this is the first step in establishing Blue Gene in the companys stable of servers. IBM plans to offer other products based on Blue Gene, and it is looking at offering systems aimed at particular verticals.
"Well flesh out the portfolio for Blue Gene," Turek said.
IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., started working on the Blue Gene project five years ago, looking to create a new supercomputing platform that was smaller and consumed less power than traditional supercomputers. To this point, the company already has spent $100 million in research and development on the project.
Over the past two months, Blue Gene systems have climbed up the Top 500 list of the worlds fastest supercomputers. In September, one of its machines reached a peak of 36.01 teraflops, more than the 35.86 teraflops reached by Japans massive Earth Simulator system created by NEC Corp., which has spent the past two years atop the list.
IBM last week announced that another Blue Gene system had reached 70.7 teraflops. A Blue Gene supercomputer that IBM is building at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., will reach a peak of 360 teraflops, according to officials.
The commercial version will be available from one to 64 racks, with 1,024 processors per rack. In addition, IBM will offer racks with fewer processors. It has a footprint of less than one square meter.