New Supercomputer Champ from IBM

Loraine Lawson

There's a bigger, badder supercomputer on the market... but it may not be king of the hill for long.

 

The BBC reports that IBM has built Blue Gene/P, a supercomputer that's three times more powerful than the current top dog.

 

To give you some perspective, Blue Gene/P is 100,000 times more powerful than a PC, the BBC reports. Or, if you prefer, it's approximately the same as combining the processing power of a 2.4-kilometre-high pile of laptop computers, according to New Scientist.

 

It can make 1,000 trillion calculations per second; incidentally, the correct term for 1,000 of teraflops is "petaflop."

 

The U.S. government bought the first one for it's Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.


 

I had high hopes this would be so it could do some energy efficiency calculations, but New Scientist reports the first Blue Gene/P machine mostly will perform nuclear weapons simulations.

 

These new supercomputers also will be delivered to two U.S. laboratories, a lab run by the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council and Germany.

 

But it seems this model won't hold the top title for long, since IBM is already working on a bespoke supercomputer codenamed Roadrunner. Roadrunner will be able to crunch through 1.6 thousand trillion calculations per second.

 

Roadrunner is interesting because it will use cell chips, which means it will need fewer processors than your standard issue supercomputer.

 

Sun is also working on a new supercomputer that could come out on top. Sun's Constellation machine will run at a maximum speed of 1.7 petaflops.



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