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IBM chasing aliens

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IBM has beaten off competition from Compaq and Hewlett Packard to provide the US Air Force Space Surveillance Team with IBM SP supercomputers that are to be used to identify objects that are being tracked by their telescopes.

Objects under observation may be errant communication satellites, or other space junk as well as non-US spacecrafts.

An earlier version of the supercomputer was used in the space shuttle discovery flight. The one that they will be using processes at a peak of 480 billion calculations per second and is powered by 320 copper-based Power3 II microprocessor. It will also have a 224Gb memory and 2.9Tb hard-disk space.

The supercomputer is now up and running and applications are now being ported to the platform.

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