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Meet the World's Fastest Supercomputer

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By Erin Sherbert

The Record

10/31/05 7:53 AM PT

 

BlueGene/L uses more than 130,000 computer processes to run mega-science calculations. Researchers rely on those calculations to determine how nuclear weaponry materials age over time and use this data to determine how to make weapons safe and reliable.

 

Scientists last week unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer Latest News about supercomputer, designed to help ensure the safety and reliability of the country's aging nuclear weapons.

 

It is so fast, its speed is equal to every man, woman and child in the world doing 60,000 calculations per second.

 

At a three-hour ceremony, the National Nuclear Security Administration dedicated the supercomputer, dubbed BlueGene/L, and its counterpart, Purple, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Latest News about Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

 

Mega Power

 

The National Nuclear Security Administration, created in 2000 by Congress, is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the safety, security Security, strength, a lower TCO: find out about all the advantages of IBM Middleware on Linux., reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing. Lab officials said the supercomputers solve problems dealing with aging nuclear weaponry and simulate the performance of the nuclear weapons, which was once accomplished by underground testing.

 

BlueGene/L uses more than 130,000 computer processes to run mega-science calculations. Researchers rely on those calculations to determine how nuclear weaponry materials age over time and use this data to determine how to make weapons safe and reliable, said Lynn Kissel, the lab's deputy program leader for the Advance Simulation and Computing department.

 

For instance, officials explained, it will help researchers understand how certain temperatures will affect different weapons materials, which are among "the things you need to know in order to have a weapon perform properly," said Kim Cupps, BlueGene/L integration project leader.

 

Cupps said what makes the machine remarkable is the rate at which it performs these calculations. BlueGene/L can conduct 360 trillion calculations per second, she said.

 

As a result, BlueGene/L outperforms Japan's supercomputer Earth Simulator, which was the world's fastest supercomputer until now, lab officials said.

Breaking Records

 

"That's pretty amazing," Cupps said. "With a machine this powerful, scientists are able to discover things they were not able to discover before."

 

It also means researchers can get more science done in a shorter period of time. BlueGene/L will be available for classified production in February, officials said.

 

Purple was the second supercomputer showcased Thursday. While it's not nearly as fast as the BlueGene/L, Purple gives researchers accurate 3-D simulations of a nuclear weapon's performance.

 

Both supercomputers are a part of a US$200 million contract with IBM (NYSE: IBM) Latest News about IBM.

 

"It's far beyond unmatched anywhere else in the world," said Bruce T. Goodwin, the lab's associate director of defense and nuclear technologies.

source

 

so fast its super fast :P

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