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Blue Waters Update—NCSA/IBM Joint Statement

Effective Aug. 6, 2011, IBM terminated its contract with the University of Illinois to provide the supercomputer for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ Blue Waters project.

NCSA is confident that its goal of building a sustained-petascale supercomputer remains achievable in a timely manner. NCSA is coordinating with the National Science Foundation to ensure project continuity and that the goals of the project are achieved.

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 IBM’s 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.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is home to a modern, energy-efficient data center that provides high-bandwidth connectivity to national and international networks and a massive archival storage system. NCSA also has deep staff expertise in computer and computational science that will ensure the science and engineering community can take full advantage of any new supercomputer.

IBM, the University of Illinois, and NCSA will explore other opportunities to continue the strong working relationship established during the Blue Waters project.

For more information, contact Bill Bell, 217.265.5102, or Trish Barker, 217.265.8013.

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