International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has won a contract to supply a supercomputer to the newly opened technology center at Rutger’s University. The center will house the company’s latest supercomputing effort, a $3.2 million behemoth, which will be available for use by both the university’s research groups and companies from the private sector. The super computer to be installed in the center is called Blue Gene/P. It will be one of the most powerful computers in the North Eastern United States and will vie to make it onto a list of the world’s 500 most powerful super computers.

The new computer will be the size of two refrigerators and will provide processing support to the University’s research ambitions and applications in the private sphere. In a strategy that remains to be finalized, the costs aren’t clear at this point, private firms could be able to use the computer for their own needs by renting time on the machine. The power of such computing could prove invaluable to firms in the investment and equity sectors and the bigger and more cutting edge firms could open a “computing gap” with rivals. Companies who are already interested in the computer include JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Siemens (NYSE:SI) and Xerox (NYSE:XRX).

The processing power could open up new realms of possibility for firms if the software engineering side of things remains at the same level. In this project the software will be created by teams at Rutgers. The Blue Gene/P will be the only computing device of comparable power to be available to private enterprise in New Jersey. The release means that six of these systems are now installed across the United States with IBM hoping to institute more. The computer giant, credited with creating some of the first true computer in the twentieth century, is the largest manufacturer on the list of the world’s top 500 super computers installed. It’s highest entry is at number ten on the list. A Blue Gene/P installed in Germany, similar to that in Rutgers is at number 13 on the list. Both IBM and the University must be hoping for a similar placing of this new computer.

Public perception and awareness of IBM’s supercomputing efforts were greatly increased last year when its computer, named Watson, appeared on the game show Jeopardy. The computer’s performance on the show demonstrated the lengths artificial intelligence and processing power have come in recent years. Watson is now involved in cancer diagnostics and treatment in the United States, helping medical profession make the best decisions based on an analysis of the data.