Petascale Supercomputer “Blue Waters” Project, Abandoned by IBM and NCSA

Blue_WatersBoth the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and IBM have quoted unexpected costs and greater than expected difficulties among motives for abandoning plans to make a petaflop-speed supercomputer this Monday.  A petaflop, for those who are curious, is a measure of the processing speed of a computer, that being a thousand trillion floating point operations each second – a computer with such speed abilities being reported in and of itself.  Having begun the project last 2008, IBM said that it has stopped its four-year “Blue Waters” agreement estimated at around $208 million USD, formerly expected to have been carried inside 2011.

Technology specialist like Rich Doherty of Envisioneering Group are thus far appearing to concentrate on the reality that IBM will be returning the money they have received from the project up to this point while the NCSA will be returning all IBM equipment, while both groups have assured to work on future petasclae computing projects together.

According to Rick Doherty, “It’s not often you hear of contract money being returned, especially with government contracts. IBM was putting a lot of resources into the contract [but] It wasn’t a profitable direction for IBM.”

According to, if the project’s end-product computer had certainly been made, it would have been one of the top most powerful supercomputers throughout the world. The University of Illinois and the National Science Foundation funded the project, scheduling afterward to permit researchers to use the computer for all manner of advanced simulation, data-crunching and modeling.

Aside from accumulating costs and latest complexities in the project, the reality that new techniques with potential for less cost and less complexity in their execution have been cropping up since 2008 might have something to do with the abandonment of the project as it existed up until two days ago.