IBM Supercomputer Shatters Own Speed Record


An IBM Blue Gene supercomputer has nearly doubled its previous world-beating
speed, performing at 135.3 trillion floating points per second, said the
Department of Energy (DoE).


The DoE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which uses the
machine to help maintain the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, said the new
speed trounced the supercomputer’s previous speed of 70.7 teraflops
.

When it is finished this summer, BlueGene/L will have 65,000 nodes for a
total of 131,072 processors, said Don
Johnston, a spokesman for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in
California, which is where the system is being tested.


The previous fastest speed of 70.7 was championed by NNSA last November with the release of the latest Linpack computing
benchmark.


At 70.7 teraflops last fall, scientists at Lawrence Livermore were able to perform molecular dynamics simulations of 16 million atoms with the greatest
accuracy ever recorded. BlueGene/L also helped scientists studying
the effects of voids in metal failure to perform such simulations with more
than 2.1 billion atoms.


But the fact that the researchers were able to boost the supercomputer’s
speed so considerably from November to March speaks to the ability for such
machines to be considerably scaled to perform processing-intensive tasks.
When it is finished this summer, BlueGene/L is expected to run more than
64,000 IBM Power processors at 360 teraflops.


To Big Blue’s delight, BlueGene/L currently sits comfortably atop the Top500
supercomputing list as the most powerful machine in the world. NASA’s SGI
Altix, code-named Columbia, is currently second at 51.9 teraflops.


While the numbers are impressive for technology vendors, the research
the machines enable is more important; it includes such areas as weather
modeling, meteorology, and simulating the effects of space on humans and
objects.


Updates prior version to clarify code-name for NASA’s SGI Altix as Columbia

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