Mammoth Super-iDataPlex Cluster for IBM

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IBM and the University of Toronto are building a new supercomputer that will be powered by 4,000 of its new iDataPlex servers and entirely water cooled. The system will be the most powerful supercomputer in Canada and one of the 20 fastest in the world, capable of performing 360 trillion calculations per second, according to Reuters.

The new supercomputer will help scientists at the University of Toronto and its research hospitals, providing processing horsepower for projects in aerospace, astrophysics, climate change prediction and medical imaging. The $47 million price tag is being footed by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, in partnership with the province of Ontario and the university.


The Toronto supercomputer will be the largest implementation of iDataPlex, a water-cooled system offering high density in a smaller footprint. IBM said its hardware design for iDataPlex reduces the cost per server by at least 20 percent, and can cram twice as many servers into the same floor space as conventional servers while requiring 40 percent less power to run. It can be outfitted with IBM’s Cool Blue rear-door water-cooling system.

A data center to house the system will be built just north of Toronto. Installation will begin in the autumn and it’s expected the supercomputer will be fully operational by next summer. “Every aspect of the system has been put together to be the most powerful and yet the most energy-efficient,” said Chris Pratt, strategic initiatives executive at IBM Canada.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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