State To Confiscate Supercomputer
It is on the verge of being repossessed by the Martinez administration; it is about to be evicted from its home at Intel; and its ranking among fastest supercomputers in the world has dropped from third to No. 128, substantially reducing its market value.
The administration has told the New Mexico Computing Applications Center that it plans to take possession of the machine, claiming the nonprofit group set up to operate Encanto can’t pay its bills or perform necessary upkeep.
State Information Technology Secretary Darryl Ackley said in a June 20 letter to Applications Center CEO Tom Bowles that combination puts the nonprofit group in breach of contract.
The letter said the government would take over all equipment and assets as of June 30.
Bowles denies the allegations. He said the Martinez administration seems bent on repossessing the supercomputer to sell it to private operators – something the governor has considered since taking office in January 2011.
In his letter, Ackley said the center owes nearly $1.25 million in past-due bills to Intel Corp. in Rio Rancho, where the supercomputer is housed, and to SGI Inc., the company that sold the computer to New Mexico and that provided maintenance and operation services until last fall.
“We don’t see the Computer Applications Center as having the ability to sustain operations,” Ackley told the Journal on Wednesday. “It’s only a matter of time until the center is completely unable to run it. They’re running up debt without revenue to pay for operations.”
Even if the state doesn’t repossess the computer, the center faces an uncertain future because Intel has declined to renew its lease to remain on the company’s campus in Rio Rancho.
Intel plans to demolish the building where Encanto is housed, meaning the computer will have to be relocated by Sept. 30.