AUSTIN - The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a $59 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build and operate a new supercomputer that would be among the world's most powerful.
The system will be built by Sun Microsystems Inc. and use 13,000 microprocessors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., said officials at UT's Texas Advanced Computing Center, which will run the machine.
When finished in October 2007, the supercomputer will be capable of 400 trillion calculations per second, officials said.
Currently, International Business Machine Corp.'s Blue Gene/L system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is the fastest supercomputer in the world, according to the Top500 project, an independent group of university computer scientists who release supercomputer rankings every six months. The computer is capable of 280 trillion calculations per second.
The Texas computer will be a collaboration between UT-Austin, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems, Arizona State University and Cornell University.
Through an application process, the computer will be available to academic and government researchers for various projects, from better understanding proteins to predicting severe weather to modeling interstellar supernovas. Ten percent of the machine's capacity is being reserved equally for other Texas universities and for business applications.
"This resource will help Texas academic researchers provide answers to some of the most perplexing scientific questions," said Mark Yudof, chancellor of the University of Texas System.
The $59 million federal grant, which was announced Thursday, will pay for the system and operating expenses for the next four years.