IBM may build fastest supercomputer

Written by Phil Cogar

August 7, 2007 // 2:22 p.m.

Tags: #computer #fastest #floating #foundation #ibm #national #operations #per #petaflops #point #science #second #super #supercomputer

The first computer that can deliver one petaFLOPS, or one thousand trillion floating point operations per second, may be built by IBM and housed at the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois according to documents procured by the New York Times.

With a build cost of £98 million and an operating cost of more than £196 million over the next five years, the new supercomputer has been surrounded by controversy as numerous supercomputer centres and United States state governments have vied for the award.

For the better part of the two decades, the fastest computers in the country have been at either the national laboratories at Los Alamos, New Mexico, or Livermore, California and have been primarily used in the design and preservation of nuclear weapons and other classified applications.

The new supercomputer, however, will concentrate on major science projects like simulating the impact of global warming and will represent a shift in the balance of computing power between military and scientific computing centres.

The decision isn't final though as the National Science Board must ratify it before the award is given.

What other types of scientific applications do you think this new supercomputer will be used for? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or over in the forums.

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