Press Archive

NPACI, IBM Usher in New Age of Scientific Discovery with the Dedication of Blue Horizon at SDSC

Published 02/09/2000

David Hart, SDSC,, 858-534-8314
John Buscemi,, 914-766-3197

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO - The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) officially named its new, 1,152-processor IBM RS/6000 SP system at a dedication ceremony at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) February 9. The event featured remarks by representatives from government, IBM, NPACI and UCSD, and the scientific research community. The system--the most powerful computer available to the U.S. academic community --will henceforth be known as Blue Horizon.

"The name suggests the dawn of a new age in scientific discovery," said Sid Karin, director of NPACI and SDSC. "With simulations on a scale never before possible, this system will allow researchers to better understand the workings of the human nervous system, design the next generation of drugs against HIV and other diseases, and tackle complex issues of climate and the environment."

Blue Horizon gives the research community a tool for breakthroughs in such areas as climate modeling and weather prediction, mapping and modeling the human brain, modeling ecosystems and the transport of substances through the environment, investigating the biochemical interactions of molecules and cells, and mapping the genomes of living organisms. For more information on Blue Horizon, see

"By linking the massive computing power of the RS/6000 SP with the leading researchers of our time, we bring together human intelligence and technology to solve Nature's most perplexing mysteries," said Lou Bifano, IBM Vice President for Strategic Alliances and Pervasive Computing, who attended the dedication ceremony. "The RS/6000 SP has established itself as a leader in scientific and technical computing, and our partnership with NPACI provides further evidence of our commitment to provide solutions for problems of global scale."

Blue Horizon has a peak speed of 1.02 teraflops--a trillion floating-point operations per second - generated by 1,152 Power3 processors running at 222 MHz. The processors are organized into 144 eight-processor SMP High Nodes. Each node has 4 GB of memory, for a total system memory of 576 GB. The associated disk can store 5.1 terabytes (5,100 gigabytes) of data. The machine can be viewed on the Web at

The teraflops machine was officially accepted by SDSC management December 30 after successfully completing a battery of tests that demonstrated stable operation, good performance, and high throughput. The test results show that the new machine will provide the capability to solve problems in days that typically require weeks, months, or years on smaller machines. It is ranked tenth in the world on the list of Top 500 Supercomputer Sites ( maintained by the University of Tennessee and the University of Mannheim.

Allocations of time Blue Horizon will be made through national peer review, with preference given to problems that take advantage of the machine's unique capability to solve very large problems. See for more information.

The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) unites 46 universities and research institutions to build the computational environment for tomorrow's scientific discovery. Led by UC San Diego and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), NPACI is funded by the National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program and receives additional support from the State and University of California, other government agencies, and partner institutions. The NSF PACI program also supports the National Computational Science Alliance. For additional information about NPACI, see, or contact David Hart at SDSC, 858-534-8314,