Monday, IBM will put up for sale the RS/6000 SP “Nighthawk 2” server it developed to run the ASCI White supercomputer now being used by Lawrence Livermore Labs to simulate nuclear explosions. The SP system can utilize as many as 8,192 processors. Unlike ASCI White, however, the server accesses the processors distributed through other servers connected by a high-speed switch. In developing the SP systems, IBM is hoping to compete with Sun Microsystems. For those interested in buying an SP system, the cheapest, running with four processors, costs $190,000. Typically, they will use 64 to 100 processors and cost between $1.5 million and $2 million.
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