GM buys IBM supercomputer for design, crash test work

  • Business
  • Thursday, 22 Apr 2004

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors Corp. has purchased an IBM supercomputer the companies say is the fastest in the automotive industry and will more than halve the time it takes to get a vehicle on the market. 

The new supercomputer, based on IBM's Power 4 and Power 5 technology, more than doubles the computing capacity of the world's largest automaker, and is expected to slash the amount of time it takes to get a vehicle to market from four years to 18 months. 

GM said in a release Wednesday that the computer is the fastest in the industry, "by a wide margin,'' and can compute at a rate of nine teraflops, or nine trillion calculations per second. 

Neither GM nor IBM would reveal how much the computer cost. 

The computer is expected to allow design modifications and engineering questions in GM vehicles to be handled in a matter of hours when they previously would have taken months to resolve. 

GM received the first phase of the supercomputer network in March and will receive a second phase later this year, spokesman Chris Perry said. 

The supercomputer also is expected to continue cutting GM's crash test costs by advancing digital simulations. Since GM began using the system, it has cut the number of needed crash vehicles, which cost $500,000 per test, by about 85 percent. 

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