Cray Inc. has finalized a $188 million multi-year contract to help change the world by supplying the supercomputer for the National Science Foundation’s Blue Waters project at the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

The Blue Waters project will deliver one of the most powerful supercomputers ever, capable of sustained performance of 1 petaflop on average. More than 25 teams, from a dozen research fields, are already prepared to achieve breakthroughs by using Blue Waters to model things including nanotechnology’s minute molecular assemblies, the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang, the damage caused by earthquakes and the formation of tornadoes, the mechanism by which viruses enter cells, and improved climate change predictions.

Blue Waters also has an educational program that includes future K-12 teachers as well as the more expected researchers and technical experts, along with an expanded industrial partner program.

Scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2012, the supercomputer will be comprised of a Cray XE6 system (which is much bigger than it looks in this picture) and a future upgrade of the recently-announced Cray XK6 supercomputer and will feature new 16-core AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors (formerly code-named Interlagos), a next-generation GPU from Nvidia currently called Kepler, and a new integrated storage solution from Cray. Geek out further by clicking on the links below.

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