IBM recently unveiled the company's most powerful computing grid ever, tapping into the promising computing trend in China.

The gird system, which is comprised of a cluster of servers and computers linked through the Internet to achieve superior computing speeds, will be capable of performing 15 trillion calculations per second, second only to the Japanese government's Earth Simulator supercomputer, a $500 million machine that crunches more than 35 trillion calculations per second.

The system runs on the open-source Linux software and will link nearly 100 universities and 10,000 students in China when it is completed. "This seems to be mostly a brand-building project for IBM. It will promote the company among students and universities, big buyers in the computer market," said Grace Lin, a computer analyst at Shanghai-based Capital International Holdings.

IBM, which held approximately 4.3% of the China personal computer market in the first quarter of 2003, has said the emerging field of grid computing was one of its key growth areas ┬ĘC the China grid will use its power to help link students to online courses and to process data related to the flu-like SARS.

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