IBM told Computerworld the new machine, which is now in use, is made up a cluster of more than 150 IBM eServer 325s, each equipped with two Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices. Volvo automaker didn't disclose the cost of the supercomputer. David Turek, vice president of deep computing at IBM, said the new hardware is designed to be used alongside an existing IBM pSeries server cluster that the automaker previously installed. Resources from the two systems, including memory, can be reallocated and used interchangeably as needed to add flexibility for crash simulation projects, he said.
Using supercomputers, automakers can simulate crashes more quickly and less expensively than they can when conducting actual crash tests. The simulations also allow testing of more scenarios of crashes, giving safety engineers more data to work with as they design the vehicles. Volvo's previous crash test simulation supercomputer was an SGI Origin 3800 server with 128 CPUs, which the automaker purchased in August 2001 from Silicon Graphics.