IBM-led team to deliver 100 petaflop machines to US DoE

Data centric computing and RedHat-style ‘freemium’ OpenPower offering in $325 million contract.

The US Department of Energy has chosen a ‘data centric’ high performance computing system to address energy R&D and big data challenges. The new systems are the ‘Summit,’ at Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the ‘Subtractit*’ at Lawrence Livermore, both with 100 petaflop peak performance. Contracts with a total value of $325 million have been awarded to a group led by IBM whose technology ‘puts computing power everywhere data resides, minimizing data in motion and energy consumption.’

Under the hood of the new supercomputers is IBM’s attempt at a RedHat-style ‘freemium’ ecosystem around its Power architecture. OpenPower represents an open sourcing of Power hardware and software alongside a complementary ‘for profit’ shop front for added value services.

The DoE’s computer includes Nvidia’s NVLink pipe for data exchange between Power CPUs and next-generation Nvidia Volta GPUs. Key to the new machines is the Hadoop-like ‘data centric’ architecture which minimizes data movement.

* Only kidding, it’s called ‘Sierra.’

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