IBM researchers said on Monday they had used their Blue Gene supercomputer to model 50 combinations of hafnium dioxide and basic silicon. The company plans to build chips based on the new mixture in 2008. The new material looked good in theory, but IBM engineers had to create simulations of different mixtures to avoid any surprises when they added it to semiconductor production line. The team used new algorithms and a Blue Gene/L supercomputer with 4,096 processors to crunch the numbers. The program took about five days to run a simulation for each combination of ingredients, modeling the interaction between individual particles for the 600 atoms in every model. If the researchers had used a typical notebook PC, the 250-day job would have taken them 700 years.

IBM researchers said on Monday they had used their Blue Gene supercomputer to model 50 combinations of hafnium dioxide and basic silicon. The company plans to build chips based on the new mixture in 2008. The new material looked good in theory, but IBM engineers had to create simulations of different mixtures to avoid any surprises when they added it to semiconductor production line. The team used new algorithms and a Blue Gene/L supercomputer with 4,096 processors to crunch the numbers. The program took about five days to run a simulation for each combination of ingredients, modeling the interaction between individual particles for the 600 atoms in every model. If the researchers had used a typical notebook PC, the 250-day job would have taken them 700 years.