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New Mexico Announces Supercomputer Project

"We will recruit companies to partner with us and move their research, development and manufacturing operations to the state, creating more high-wage jobs for New Mexicans."

by / November 2, 2007
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson today announced that New Mexico will soon host one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

"This is a major part of my effort to strengthen New Mexico's economy," Richardson said. "This project proves New Mexico is serious about developing its high-tech economy, and represents a crucial investment in our state's future. Our supercomputing center will be a world-class research facility. We will recruit companies to partner with us and move their research, development and manufacturing operations to the state, creating more high-wage jobs for New Mexicans."

SGI, a California company, has been awarded an $11 million state contract to build the supercomputer, which will be housed at Intel Corp. in Rio Rancho. Businesses, governments and schools will be able use the New Mexico Computing Applications Center to model complex problems -- everything from creating new products to modeling scenarios for New Mexico's future water supply.

The supercomputer is projected to operate at 172 teraflops per second. One teraflop represents 1 trillion calculations per second. It's powered by 14,336 Intel Xenon processor cores, and has enough memory for 28,000 office computers.

Supercomputers are often used for modeling, or quickly calculating how difficult problems play out. For example, companies could use the supercomputer to develop new airplane designs, simulate crash tests for new cars and design life-saving drugs. They're also used to model hurricanes and global warming.

"Supercomputing has just now reached the point where we can simulate the world so well that we can find the best answers to complex problems before we spend time and money," said Tom Bowles, chief science advisor for Richardson. "This project will attract international interest to New Mexico."

The New Mexico Department of Information Technology will manage the supercomputer project. Formal partnerships have been established with Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech. SGI has formed a separate partnership to keep the computer at Intel's Rio Rancho plant.

Governor Richardson and the New Mexico Legislature created the New Mexico Department of Information Technology in 2007 to provide leadership, efficiency and accountability for state government technology needs. The department approves computer and technology purchases, manages state communications, and oversees construction of new technology infrastructure for the state.

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