Compaq to deliver explosive power

The Energy Department has awarded Compaq Computer Corp. a $200 million contract

to build the largest supercomputer in the world — a system with enough disk

space to store 20 times the number of books at the Library of Congress.

The supercomputer will be housed in the new Strategic Computing Complex

at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and will be used to simulate

nuclear weapons testing and other classified and strategic tests. Simulations

of nuclear weapons have become necessary because of the shift in U.S. policy

away from real nuclear tests.

Code-named "Q," the system will be able to attain a peak performance

of 30 trillion floating-point operations per second (teraflops). It contains

about 375 AlphaServer systems, joined by more than 6,000 fiber and copper

cables.

"This gives the government the ability to support the development of

a system that promotes U.S. superiority in technology," said Ron Ross, president

of Compaq Federal.

The National Science Foundation this month also selected a Compaq system

as part of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, which will build and manage

the world's largest supercomputer for nonmilitary scientific applications,

such as weather forecasting, earthquake modeling and studying global climate

change.

In June, IBM Corp. delivered to DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

a supercomputer with an estimated peak performance of 12.3 trillion operations

per second. That system, which will become operational later this year,

is the first to exceed the double-digit teraflop speed barrier.

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