FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

IBM Once Again Has World's Fastest Computer

Moore's Law is alive and well.

Big Blue reclaimed the title of producing the world's fastest computer when IBM's Blue Gene/L supercomputer was clocked at 70.72 trillion canculations per second. This is almost double the processing speed of the previous record holder, Japan's Earth Simulator, which weighed in at 35.86 trillion calculations per second. The Earth Simluator, in turn, was four times faster than any other computer when it debuted two years ago.

Blue Gene/L requires 2,500 square feet of space and uses about $1 million in electricity every year. However, computer scientists say that these are modest requirements for a supercomputer, the result of its high efficient design. Blue Gene/L will be put to work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where it will ultimately be upgraded to handle 360 trillion calculations per second.

By comparison, the typical home or office PC can perform a mere one billion calculations per second.