Russia Buys One Of World's Most Powerful Computers
A Russian 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, makers IBM said on Thursday.

The Moscow State 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 modelling the heart, an IBM spokesman said. "This agreement with IBM heralds a new era of supercomputing in Russia," said Viktor Sadovnichiy, rector of the university, in a statement.

The world's most powerful supercomputer is a Blue Gene device owned by the US Department of Energy and used at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to model the ageing of the US nuclear weapons stockpile and predict potential problems. IBM said the supercomputer sold to Moscow university would be among the 50 most powerful supercomputers in the world but had received an export licence from US authorities and would be used "purely for scientific research".

The Department of Computational Mathematics at the Moscow university paid around $5 million for two racks of the supercomputer, which can run 2,600 times faster than the fastest home PC and should be operational by April 2008. Because of advances in technology, each rack of the supercomputer is about the size of a US domestic fridge and additional racks can be added as requirements grow. The Blue Gene version used by the US government is almost 20 times more powerful than the one bought by Moscow.