Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IBM Supercomputer Sets New Speed Record

An IBM-built supercomputer being assembled for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has attained a record 70.72 trillion computations per second, the Energy Department said Thursday.

IBM's Blue Gene/L system, being assembled in Rochester, Minn., was able to sustain a speed of 70.72 trillion floating point operations per second during tests in the past month running the Linpack benchmarking software. Linpack involves solving a complex series of mathematical equations. IBM has been researching and developing the Blue Gene system as an experiment in building extremely powerful systems that take up less space and consume less power than traditional designs. Livermore next year plans to install a system four times as large as the one that set the record.

The result comes a little more than a month after IBM reported that a smaller version of Blue Gene/L eclipsed the NEC-built Earth Simulator in Japan as the world's fastest computer. The Japanese government's announcement more than two years ago that it had assembled the world's most powerful supercomputer set off a flurry of supercomputing development and interest in the field from Washington, where the technology is considered vital to American scientific and industrial competitiveness. In late September, IBM reported that a Blue Gene/L system achieved a sustained speed of 36 teraflops, edging the Earth Simulator's result of 35.86 teraflops.

Last month, Silicon Graphics said a system at NASA's Ames Research Center in California had attained a sustained speed of 42.7 teraflops. That supercomputer, named Columbia, will be used to study weather and design aircraft.

Improvements to Blue Gene's system software and compilers in the new test let it take advantage of twice as much hardware as the IBM machine that set the record in September, sys Mark Seager, assistant department head for advanced technology at Lawrence Livermore. The new system contains 16,384 computing "nodes," for a total of 32,768 processors. Livermore plans to use the completed supercomputer for a variety of scientific tasks, including safeguarding the nation's stockpile of nuclear weapons.

  • 1