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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Supercomputer doubles own record

The Blue Gene/L supercomputer has broken its own record to achieve more than double the number of calculations it can do a second.

It reached 280.6 teraflops - that is 280.6 trillion calculations a second.

The IBM machine, at the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, officially became the most powerful computer on the planet in June.

The fastest supercomputers in the world are ranked by experts every six months in the Top 500 list.

Blue Gene's performance, while it has been under construction, has quadrupled in just 12 months.

Each person in the world with a handheld calculator would still take decades to do the same calculations Blue Gene is now able to do every second.

Linton F Brooks from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) formerly unveiled it at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Friday.

The completed Blue Gene/L joins another supercomputing team-mate, called ASC Purple, to get to work on safeguarding the US's nuclear stockpile.

Purple can do 100 teraflops while it carries out simulations of nuclear weapons performance.

"The unprecedented computing power of these two supercomputers is more critical than ever to meet the time-urgent issues related to maintaining our nation's ageing nuclear stockpile without testing," said Mr Brooks.

"BlueGene/L points the way to the future and the computing power we will need to improve our ability to predict the behaviour of the stockpile as it continues to age."

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