Date: July 16, 07
IBM has launched the world's fastest commercial supercomputer Blue Gene/P. Blue Gene/P is three times more potent than the current fastest machine, BlueGene/L, also built by IBM. The latest number cruncher is capable of operating at so called "petaflop" speeds - the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.
Currently the most powerful machine is Blue Gene/L, housed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Used to ensure that the US nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe and reliable, it has achieved 280.6 teraflops or trillions of calculations per second. The machine packs 1,31,072 processors and is theoretically capable of reaching 367 teraflops.
The standard one petaflop Blue Gene/P comes with 2,94,912-processors connected by a high-speed, optical network but it can be expanded to pack 8,84,736 processors. Codenamed Roadrunner, it will be able to crunch through 1.6 thousand trillion calculations per second.
The computer will contain 16,000 standard processors working alongside 16,000 "cell" processors, designed for the PlayStation 3 (PS3). Each cell chip consists of eight processors controlled by a master unit that can assign tasks to each member of the processing team. Each cell is capable of 256 billion calculations per second.
Another contender for top supercomputer has been unveiled by Sun. Its Constellation machine will be able to run at a maximum speed of 1.7 petaflops. The first Constellation machine called Ranger, is being put together for the University of Texas at Austin and will run at 500 teraflops.