The fastest has just got faster. The Blue Gene supercomputer, based at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LNLL), in Livermore, California, is owned partly by IBM. In the past, it has broken its own record several times, when the top 500 most powerful computers in the world are tested every six months.
Now Blue Gene has one again broken its own record by producing 280.6 teraflops, which equals a staggering 280.6 trillion calculations per second. This is 280,600,000,000,000 calculations per second. In the past year Blue Gene has quadroupled in power and the current record beats its previous 101.5 teraflops by 179.1 teraflops.
This record was set after a staggering 131,072 processors, (which is a binary number at 2^17) were installed over the course of the past few years. Blue Gene will now join Purple, another supercomputer, and together, they will (rule the galaxy as father and son? - Star Wars Ed)
produce half a petraflop - half a quintrillion calculations a second. Using this technology, scientists hope to model the human brain
, which will help diagnose medical conditions and see how they occur and evolve. It could even be used for artificial intellegence, as scientists have started to model AI on the human brain. Other uses include simulating the aging of nuclear resources, allowing the US to protect its stockpile of nuclear weapons.
The entire project has cost over $100 million, and is funded by the IBM and the US Department Of Energy (after the amount of power this computer will need, of course you need the DOE to help!).
IBM said: "Today, IBM and its collaborators are exploring a growing list of high performance computing (HPC) applications including life sciences, financial modeling, hydrodynamics, quantum chemistry, molecular dynamics, astronomy and space research, materials science and climate modeling."
Although this supercomputer race was a decade long project, it seems that IBM plans to continue to build supercomputers in the name of science.
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