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IBM today unveiled its z13 mainframe, a computer system it says is the most powerful and secure ever built.

Made to process 2.5 billion transactions a day, the z13 is said to be the first computer system to enable real-time encryption of any and all mobile transactions at scale. The system also comes with embedded analytics tools meant to offer real-time data on all transactions.

All together, the z13 is geared towards large-scale retailers who want the ability to power huge numbers of transactions, and analyze them for fraud. IBM said the system is 17 times faster than more expensive, competing tools. Given that there are expected to be 40 trillion mobile transactions a day by 2025, IBM said, the z13 could be a vital tool for helping businesses manage that flood.

IBM said the new system is the result of a billion-dollar investment over five years, as well as 500 new patents.


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One of the chief benefits of the z13, the company said, is the system’s ability to handle what it called a “starburst effect,” when a single transaction triggers as many as 100 others that must be run in order to analyze past purchases, data encryption and decryption, customer loyalty discounts, and much more. The starburst effect presents significant security vulnerabilities, the company said, but the z13 can help large companies mitigate those concerns, even when it comes to crucial financial data.

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