IBM Announces First Scalable, Parallel System

New Generation of RISC System/6000-based Products Introduced

NEW YORK, Feb 2, 1993 . . . With system management capabilities and a flexible architecture unlike any other high-performance computer, IBM today announced its first scalable, parallel system -- the 9076 SP1. Based on the powerful RISC System/6000 processor, the general purpose supercomputer provides customers with simultaneous parallel and serial, interactive and batch processing capabilites while achieving outstanding price/performance.

Harnessing the power of eight to 64 RISC System/6000 processors and integrating the inter-processor communication efficiencies of an innovative switch technology, the new IBM system has been well-received by several early users.

The Scalable POWERparallel System 9076 SP1, the initial member of IBM's new Scalable POWERparallel Series of computers, uses the AIX/6000 operating system. The high-performance computer can run a single, parallel job using multiple processor nodes, execute serial tasks on individual nodes, or perform a combination of these tasks simultaneously.

This general-purpose nature of the SP1 enables customers to explore and develop parallel applications while concurrently running their day-to-day serial production work within the SP1 AIX/6000 environment.

The compute power and architecture of the SP1 is ideally suited for scientists, engineers, researchers and analysts who require greater power to solve complex, numerically-intensive computational problems. These problems can be found in application areas involving financial modeling, long-range weather forcasting, numerical analysis, geophysical modeling, pharmaceutical design, and advanced aircraft and automotive design.

PERFORMANCE: Computing power increases with the number of frames included in the system. Based on the number of frames, four major configurations of the SP1 are being offered. These configurations provide customers with modular processing power ranging from 1 to 8 gigaFLOPS. The peak performance per individual processor node is 125 megaFLOPS. A single frame houses eight to 16 processor nodes, the redundant power supply and an optional high performance switch. The SP1 can accommodate up to four frames.

HARDWARE: Each RISC System/6000 processor can be configured with a maximum of 256MB of memory and 2GB of disk; a 64-way system contains a maximum memory of 16GB and 128GB of disk. A full version of AIX/6000 will run on each processor node.

System management and maintenance of the SP1 is provided by an IBM RISC System/6000 control workstation, using IBM System Support Programs.

Central to the scalability and high-performance features of the SP1 is the new IBM High-Performance Switch which enables high-speed inter-node communication for parallel applications. This advanced technology, based on years of IBM research in parallelism, is designed to support a growing number of processor nodes, well beyond initial configurations.

The new IBM AIX Parallel Environment Software provides support for parallel applications devleopment, analysis and execution. It offers a parallel application interface that enables maximum switch performance and tools for parallel debugging and profiling. The software also features innovative program visualizaiton and performance monitoring tools for application analysis.

In addition to the IBM AIX Parallel Environment, several parallel application development packages will be available on the SP1, including Express, Linda, and PVM. Existing parallel applications running in these environments can be readily ported to the system.

FORGE 90 will also be available to enable High Performance FORTRAN (HPF) parallel programs to run on the SP1 and assist in parallelizing existing serial FORTRAN programs for the system. IBM is currently working with approximately 30 software vendors in developing scientific and engineering applications for the SP1 and future POWERparallel systems.

Pricing for the SP1 is dependent upon the type of configuration and customer-specific requirements. An entry model, 8-processor system is priced at $312,000. Built-to-order systems can be requested immediately. Volume shipment of the SP1 is scheduled for 3Q93.