The Watson Blue Gene System, which IBM calls the “world’s most powerful privately owned supercomputer” is now online at Big Blue’s research headquarters in Yorktown Heights NY.

The machine can process 91.29 teraflops of information per second yet is smaller than similar supercomputers — about the size of 20 refrigerators, IBM said.

The machine is a sister to the world’s faster supercomputer — a Blue Gene machine at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. That machine is expected to reach peak processing capability of 360 teraflops this year.

“IBM researchers will use BGW to accelerate discovery in a variety of disciplines,” said Tilak Agerwala, vice president of Systems at IBM Research. “Researchers, scientists, engineers and inventors can now ask more questions, test more theories, try more designs, and simulate more conditions than has been possible before.”

Among its initial uses will be drug development research.

IBM’s new consulting and software group known as Center for Business Optimization will have access to the supercomputer as well, IBM said.

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