University Buys IBM Computer

The Moscow State University has bought one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, the first time that such sophisticated technology has been exported to the former Soviet Union, maker IBM said Thursday.

The university has selected a Blue Gene device capable of 27.8 trillion operations per second to use in research on nanotechnology and scientific applications such as modeling the heart, an IBM spokesman said.

"This agreement with IBM heralds a new era of supercomputing in Russia," Viktor Sadovnichy, rector of the university, said in a statement.

The world's most powerful supercomputer is a Blue Gene device owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and used at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to model the aging of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and predict potential problems.

IBM said the supercomputer sold to MGU would be among the world's 50 most powerful supercomputers but that it had received an export license from U.S. authorities and would be used "purely for scientific research." The MGU Computational Mathematics Department paid about $5 million for two racks of the supercomputer, which can run 2,600 times faster than the fastest home PC. It should be operational by April.

The Blue Gene version used by the U.S. government is almost 20 times more powerful than the one bought by Moscow.