Tuesday, November 13, 2007

IBM Blue Gene Times Three – On The Road To “Petaflop”

Technicians at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California install the world's most powerful computer, an IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer. The machine is 50,000 times more powerful than a home PC. Image Credit: Livermore National Laboratory

IBM Blue Gene Times Three – On The Road To “Petaflop”

Yesterday, IBM announced that its experimental high-speed computer located at the Livermore Labs in northern California just passed by the world’s fastest calculation processing mark. IBM was able to clobber the speed of processing mark, not by just a little margin … but by three times faster than any other manufactures computer.

Blue Gene Logo - Image Credit: IBM Corporation

The current speed of calculation measurement is called a “teraflop” and this is defined as - (tera FLoating point OPerations per second) One trillion floating point operations per second. To visualize what this means is a little like … well, one can’t! IBM was able to calculate at a speed of teraflop times 478 or 478 trillion calculations per second.

What is probably more amazing, engineers at IBM feel that they will be able to more than double the speed of calculation and processing mark announced today sometime next year. That speed milestone will be measured as a “petaflop” which is defined as - One Quadrillion Floating Point Operations Per Second.

To be honest, we at Oblate Spheroid don’t even know how many zeros a “QUADRILLION” has but we know it has to be way fast.

This announcement and materials were found through The News Market -

IBM Blue Gene Shatters Record as World's Fastest Computer
IBM Corporation Press Release – 12-NOV-2007

IBM’s Blue Gene/L supercomputer is once again the fastest computer in the world, a record it has held for the past four years. The official TOP 500 Supercomputers list, released Nov. 12, reports the machine is now three times faster than its competitors with 478 trillion calculations per second, or 478 “teraflops.”

The Blue Gene/L is housed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. IBM has a record 232 supercomputers on the TOP 500 list, the vast majority built with commodity style, PC microprocessors.

The computer maker also outlined its plans to next year achieve a computing milestone known as a “petaflop” – the ability to process 1,000 trillion calculations per second.

Blue Gene is an IBM Research project dedicated to exploring the frontiers in supercomputing: in computer architecture, in the software required to program and control massively parallel systems, and in the use of computation to advance our understanding of important biological processes such as protein folding.

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And this from IBM –

Blue Gene – About This Project
Last updated 27 Jun 2007

The full Blue Gene/L machine was designed and built in collaboration with the Department of Energy's NNSA/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, and has a peak speed of 360 Teraflops.

Blue Gene systems occupy the #1 (Blue Gene/L) and #4 (Blue Gene Watson) positions in the TOP500 supercomputer list announced in June 2007 and a total of 4 of the top 10. IBM now offers a Blue Gene Solution.

IBM and its collaborators are currently exploring a growing list of applications including hydrodynamics, quantum chemistry, molecular dynamics, climate modeling and financial modeling.
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