European researchers can now use a new supercomputing network to help them in their work.

"We have just completed testing," said David Henty with the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, a member of the Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications (DEISA) consortium. "Our new supercomputing network is now open for business."

The DEISA consortium, which was launched in May and is partially funded by the European Union under its 6th Framework Program, consists of eight national supercomputing centres in Europe. It aims to build and operate a distributed terascale supercomputing facility aimed at supporting scientific discovery across a broad spectrum of science and technology, but also advancing European computer science, especially in the area of grid technology.

In the current first phase, four of the centres have linked their IBM supercomputers, providing more than 4,000 processors that can achieve processing speeds of over 22Tflops (a teraflop is a trillion calculations per second).

In a second phase, expected next year, at least two more centres are expected to connect their supercomputers, adding several teraflops of processing power. DEISA's dedicated network will be upgraded from its current transmission speed of 1Gbps (bit per second) to 10Gbps.

The consortium is currently in talks with Spain's supercomputing center at the Polytechnic University in Barcelona, which will soon receive a new supercomputer, according to Henty. "The Spanish centre would add substantial power to our supercomputing network," he said.

Last week, IBM and the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science introduced a new supercomputer, the "MareNostrum," which they contend will be the most powerful in Europe and among the ten most powerful in the world. It's being built by IBM and the Spanish government for scientific and industrial research into the human body, meteorology, environment and industrial processes.

Roght now, Europe's four initial supercomputing centers - France's Institut du Développement et des Ressources en Informatique Scientifique, Italy’s Consorzio Interuniversitario and Germany’s Forschungszentrum Jülich and Rechenzentrum Garching of the Max Planck Society -will rely on their installed base of lower-performance IBM computers.