Quick, someone assemble an eight-man band like the one that played during the Titanic's final moments above water. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications' Blue Waters project is sinking fast now that IBM has abandoned ship, leaving NCSA on its own to build a sustained petascale supercomputer. IBM and NCSA didn't have any kind of falling out, it just turned out to be more expensive than either side anticipated.
"The University of Illinois and NCSA selected IBM in 2007 as the supercomputer vendor for the Blue Waters project based on projections of future technology development. The innovative technology that IBM ultimately developed was more complex and required significantly increased financial and technical support by IBM beyond its original expectations," IBM and NCSA said in a joint statement.
IBM and NCSA ultimately failed to agree on a game plan moving forward that both could live with, so IBM tore up its contract with the University of Illinois earlier this week. Consider it a friendly breakup where both sides vow to remain friends; IBM plans to return all money to NCSA that it's received up to this point, and NCSA in return will give IBM back its equipment.
Before the two sides parted ways, IBM agreed to provide thousands of individual nodes built around the company's Power 7 architecture to be housed in an 88,000 square-foot data center.