Amsterdam, the Netherlands -- SARA, (Stichting Academisch Rekencentrum Amsterdam), Academic Computing Services of Amsterdam recently announced that it has purchased the largest known IBM SP2 system in Europe, a 20 GFlop peak-performance, 76-node machine. Funding was obtained jointly from regional and national institutions: the Vrije Universiteit (VU) at Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Dutch National Science Organization (NWO). "The SP2 will be used primarily for research in medicine, molecular dynamics, physics and datamining," Paul Wielinga, SARA's project engineer at SARA's high-performance department told HPCwire. "We don't anticipate serious porting problems, because we've already worked on a number of parallelization projects for our 8-node SP1. Of course, our experience in some areas, like molecular chemistry, is much stronger than in others. Programming these machines can be complex but no more so than with alternative architectures." "Within the academic community, various departments will have computer time allotted relative to the amount of funding available," Wielinga noted. "All proposals for time are peer-reviewed and prioritized accordingly." Among SARA's anticipated customers are sponsors like UvA and VU, other universities and research institutes in the Netherlands, plus research centers in industry and commerce. No private organizations have yet signed up for use. The system is planned to be in full operation by January 1996. Nodes will be housed in 5 frames, 4 with 1 wide node and 14 thin nodes. The next-largest European SP2 is a 70-node machine at the Leibnitz Center in Munich, Germany. -------------------- Alan Beck is the associate editor of HPCwire. Reader comments are welcome.