URBANA — IBM has ended its relationship with the Blue Waters project as a prime supplier of the water-cooled supercomputer.
The effective date was Aug. 6.
According to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, IBM will return money received to date. NCSA will return equipment delivered by IBM according to the terms of the contract.
Trish Barker, a spokeswoman for NCSA, said "IBM has terminated its contract to provide the hardware, but IBM will still be building its (next-generation) Power7 hardware."
"We anticipate quickly trying to replan the project with an alternate type of hardware, on the same timeline of 2012 as if we had been staying with IBM."
"It is certainly our hope that it will not cause further delay," Barker said.
According to a statement, "NCSA is confident that its goal of building a sustained-petascale supercomputer remains achievable in a timely manner. NCSA is coordinating with the National Science Foundation to ensure project continuity and that the goals of the project are achieved."
The University of Illinois and NCSA selected IBM in 2007 as the supercomputer vendor for the Blue Waters project based on projections of future technology development.
"The innovative technology that IBM ultimately developed was more complex and required significantly increased financial and technical support by IBM beyond its original expectations," NCSA said in a statement.
NCSA said it worked closely with IBM on various proposals to retain IBM's participation in the project but could not come to a mutually agreed-on plan concerning the path forward.
More in Tuesday's paper.