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News - IBM Computer Breaks Petaflop Processing Barrier

Jun 09, 2008 IBM Computer Breaks Petaflop Processing Barrier
By: Jessica Hodgson , Dow Jones Newswires

A supercomputer developed by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has become the first so-called petaflop computer, processing more than one thousand trillion calculations per second.

The machine has doubled speeds achieved by the previous fastest supercomputer, the IBM Blue Gene computer, hitting the milestone of petaflop calculations.

The computer, dubbed "Roadrunner", was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and will initially be used to protect the U.S.'s arsenal of nuclear weapons.

IBM said Roadrunner is the first so-called "hybrid" supercomputer, assembled from components including chips used in videogames and standard x86 processors. Cait Crawford, one of the scientists behind the project, said the computer, which relied on sophisticated hardware to boost standard hardware components, was likely to usher in a new generation of supercomputers.

Crawford said that the computer could also likely have applications in financial services, climate change solutions and cloud computing initiatives.


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