In a surprise announcement, IBM has pulled out of the NCSA & University of Illinois Blue Waters project, begun back in 2007 to create a sustained-Petascale computer. The 10 petaflop system was expected to be fully deployed at NCSA in late 2011.
The University of Illinois and NCSA selected IBM in 2007 as the supercomputer vendor for the Blue Waters project based on projections of future technology development. The innovative technology that IBM ultimately developed was more complex and required significantly increased financial and technical support by IBM beyond its original expectations. NCSA and IBM worked closely on various proposals to retain IBMs participation in the project but could not come to a mutually agreed-on plan concerning the path forward.IBM will return money received to date and NCSA will return equipment delivered by IBM per terms of the contract.
Ed. Note: An IBM spokesperson has confirmed that Blue Waters was to be based on the Power architecture; this decision does not affect development plans for the Power architecture going forward.
Rumors at ISC’11 centered around problems with the Blue Waters proprietary interconnect. A tip of the hat goes to VizWorld for pointing us to this breaking story.