Supercomputer sets new benchmark
Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:12p.m.
By 3 News online staff
A new supercomputer built by IBM in California is the fastest ever built.
Sequoia, running at 16.32 petaflops, can perform over 16 quadrillion calculations per second. It is over 50 percent faster than the previous record holder, a Japanese supercomputer built by Fujitsu.
Last year's fastest, the Chinese Tianhe-1A, only ranks fifth this year, showing how quickly computing power has grown.
IBM's Sequoia will be used to carry out nuclear weapons simulations, as opposed to destructive real-life underground tests.
"While Sequoia may be the fastest, the underlying computing capabilities it provides give us increased confidence in the nation's nuclear deterrent," says National Nuclear Security Administration administrator Thomas D'Agostino.
Sequoia is so fast, it would take the entire population of the Earth using handheld calculators 320 years to do what Sequoia can do in one hour.
It runs more than 273,000 times faster than the CM-5/1024, the machine which held the record in 1993.
The US has three of the top 10 and 253 of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.
"Sequoia also represents continued American leadership in high performance computing," says D'Agostino.
Though fast, Sequoia could lose its title pretty soon – a new computer in Tennessee called Titan is expected to operate at 20 petaflops.
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20/06/2012 8:59:48 p.m.
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