New King of the Supercomputers

Susan Hall

A supercomputer built with components designed for the Sony PlayStation 3 has dethroned IBM's Blue Gene/L as the world's fastest supercomputer, reports The New York Times.


The $133 million supercomputer, called Roadrunner, has crossed the petaflop barrier, having been shown to process more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second. It's twice as fast as the recently upgraded Blue Gene/L, housed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which runs at a speed of 478.2 teraflops, using 212,992 processors.


Roadrunner, built by engineers and scientists from IBM and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, uses fewer than 20,000 chips, according to BBC News. It uses both conventional processors and modified eight-core "cell" chips originally designed for the PS3, which run at speeds greater than 4 GHz.


With several machines in the works designed to run at petaflop speeds, this machine might be the world's fastest only a short time, the BBC notes.

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