Supercomputer beats own 'speed' record

March 25, 2005 at 8:48 PM
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LIVERMORE, Calif., March 25 (UPI) -- The IBM Blue Gene/L, the fastest supercomputer in the world, has broken its own speed record, U.S. computer scientists said.

The machine reached 135.5 teraflops, or trillion calculations per second, in its latest test run. The achievement roughly doubled its previous computing speed, BBC News Online reported.

Its designers said Blue Gene's theoretical limit is about 360 teraflops, with the machine taking up 64 racks of processors. Each rack holds 1,024 processors and each processor is as powerful as a present-day desktop computer.

The machine's latest speed was achieved by doubling the number of current racks to 32, the scientists said.

Blue Gene is designed to help scientists study the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without requiring dangerous and controversial underground nuclear tests.

Supercomputers also help solve highly complex scientific problems, such as understanding the structure of proteins, improving the design of medications and predicting global climate change.

The Cray-1, the original supercomputer, which began operating at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico in 1976, operated at a speed of 80 megaflops, or millions of operations per second.

Blue Gene is being assembled at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where it is due to be completed later this year.

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