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A New Blue in the Works From IBM

Techstination feature for Monday, December 6, 1999

It could lead to cures for cancer, heart disease and more. It is called Blue Gene. A 100 million dollar super computer being built by IBM Research...

"This Blue Gene computer is going to be about a thousand times faster than Deep Blue."

The computer that knocked off world chess champion Gary Kasparov. IBM Research VP Dr. Ambuj Goyal says it will take four to five years and a hundred million dollars to build Blue Gene... that's gene spelled g-e-n-e. And then it will be put to work on the perplexing problem of protein folding...

"So if we understand the folding process of the protein, we could understand how that particular amino acid in a protein causes one of the diseases.

It is a mystery that holds the key to understanding the basics of life. Blue Gene will be capable of calculating one quadrillion operations per second... .

"For example, if you take the fastest desktop computer today, this machine would be two million times faster."

Lucky for Kasparov, this machine will have a real job and won't play chess...

"From a computer science research point of view and research in bio-technology, we thought it's better to invest in a computer like Blue Gene."