IBM debuts commercial supercomputer

Now see if you can beat it at chess. ASCI White will process 12.3 trillion calculations per second, 30,000 times faster than your average PC

IBM introduced Monday a commercial version of what it claims is the world's most powerful supercomputer, able to process 12.3 trillion calculations per second.

IBM said the ASCI White computer, which is 30,000 times faster than the average personal computer, is a commercial version of a machine sold to the US Department of Energy last month to simulate nuclear weapons tests.

The computer uses copper -- rather than silicon -- microprocessors, silicon switching technology and software to allow companies to perform e-commerce and engineering functions, such as designing aircraft.

The computer, also known as RS/6000 SP, aims to take advantage of a shift in supercomputer usage from scientific research to business applications, such as running Internet operations, corporate data centres, or consolidating servers.

More than 70 percent of all IBM supercomputers sold are used for commercial applications, the company said.

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