Supercomputer powers Team NZ cup bid

By Hamish Fletcher

Team New Zealand tries out one of its new 33ft catamarans on the Waitemata Harbour. Photo / Getty Images
Team New Zealand tries out one of its new 33ft catamarans on the Waitemata Harbour. Photo / Getty Images

Dell will build one of the country's biggest supercomputers to power Team New Zealand's 2013 America's Cup challenge.

As well as constructing the 700kg cluster of computers for the yachting team, Dell will provide their IT services in the lead-up to the 34th cup regatta in San Francisco.

The supercomputer will help design Emirates Team New Zealand's race boats - two 72ft catamarans, the first of which is due to be launched mid-2012.

Team New Zealand showed off two 33ft catamarans in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour yesterday, which will be used to train crew and try out design concepts for the larger boats.

Team New Zealand's technical director, Nick Holroyd, said computing power was now the core of yacht design.

"A big computer like this is the lifeblood of the design group, in the way the wind tunnel was a decade ago," Holroyd said.

The computer will also analyse weather patterns and provide race-day data to help give the team a competitive edge.

The team's managing director, Grant Dalton, said technology was one of the factors that counted against them in the 2007 loss to Alinghi.

"We were undercooked from a technology point of view. That translated against Alinghi in the final, because we basically took out everyone else pretty easily, to about 10 seconds [during the race]," he said.

Dalton said the team didn't want to make the same mistake in the 2013 event. "Certainly when we started [preparing] this time, we identified a massive leap we needed to make in technology investment," he said.

The technology for Dell's computer was developed in Texas and is 250 times more powerful than the team's former set-up.

- NZ Herald

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