Press Archive

San Diego Supercomputer Center First Academic Institution to Launch IBM eServer Blue Gene Computer

Published 12/20/2004

La Jolla, California
- The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) announced today that its new IBM eServer Blue Gene computer system has been installed and accepted. Named Intimidata, this first Blue Gene system at an academic institution has already run a series of standard benchmarks and user applications. On the widely quoted Linpack benchmark, Intimidata achieved 4.6 teraflops, which is more than 80 percent of peak performance.

We are happy to be able to be among the first users of this new technology and have found it to be impressive in early tests. The unique capabilities of the Blue Gene system will provide SDSC scientists with more data-intensive compute power than ever before, said Phil Andrews, director of high-performance computing technologies at SDSC. Intimidata is an extremely powerful data-processing system that will have an immense impact in the data-intensive world.

The IBM eServer Blue Gene system at SDSC is housed in a single rack with 1,024 compute nodes and 128 I/O nodes, which is the maximum ratio of I/O to compute nodes to support data-intensive computing. Each node consists of two PowerPC processors that run at 700 MHz and share 512 MB of memory, giving an aggregate peak speed of 5.7 teraflops and a total memory of 512 GB. To ensure effective parallel processing, all compute nodes are connected by two high-speed networks: a 3-D torus for point-to-point message passing and a global tree for collective message passing. All I/O nodes are connected internally to the global tree and externally via gigabit Ethernet. This gives an aggregate I/O rate of 16 GBps in SDSC s data-optimized configuration.

With its large number of processors in a compact footprint, Blue Gene enables reductions in power consumption, cooling, and space requirements for institutions requiring immense computing power. The new architecture s ability to produce cost-effective compute power in such a small package provides a glimpse into the future of supercomputing. Funding is being provided by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

About SDSC

Founded in 1985, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is a data cyberinfrastructure center whose goal is to enable science and engineering discovery. The center offers tools such as high-performance hardware technology, integrative software technology, and deep inter-disciplinary expertise, giving users the power of cyberinfrastructure the access to and coordination of data resources to support complex modern science, engineering and societal applications. Leadership areas include high-performance computing, data management, grid computing, bioinformatics, and geoinformatics. SDSC is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego with a staff of more than 400 scientists, software developers, and support personnel, primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). For more information, see

Media contacts:
Greg Lund,
SDSC Communications, 858.534.8314

Ashley Wood,
SDSC Communications, 858.534.8363