Computer sets world speed record

AN IBM machine has reclaimed the title of world’s fastest supercomputer, overtaking a Japanese model which caused shock waves within United States government agencies when it set a computing speed record in 2002.

Supercomputing technologies were widely viewed as indicators of national industrial prowess in the 1980s and 1990s. They are used extensively in weapons design.

More recently, federal officials have become concerned that lagging investment in high-performance computing could leave the US vulnerable to competition in industries ranging from biotechnology to materials science.

The IBM computer is based on a computing technology, called Blue Gene/L, which takes an approach radically different from that used by the Japanese supercomputer, called the Earth Simulator.

The Japanese machine, which was built to analyse climate change patterns, uses fewer processors than the IBM machine, but they are specialised and faster.

The IBM supercomputer has surpassed the Earth Simulator, built by the NEC Corporation, in running the Linpack benchmark, a test program which solves a dense system of mathematical equations. IBM announced on Tuesday that the Blue Gene/L system had attained a sustained performance of 36.01 trillion calculations a second, or teraflops, eclipsing the top mark of 35.86 teraflops reached in 2002 by the Earth Simulator in Yokohama. The new speed was reached during internal testing at IBM’s production centre in Rochester, Minnesota.”






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