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July 29, 2005

Japan plans mind-boggling number-cruncher

Topics: General Science

Up to now I've been happy with my computer; it may not be much of a sizzler, but it handles a lot of stuff and numerous open applications without too much complaining, from me or the computer.

But now I realize I've been working with real junk!

Japan has revealed plans to build a supercomputer so staggeringly powerful that it will be five times swifter than the 500 fastest systems on the planet today - combined.

The supercomputer will boast a peak performance of 10 petaflops and should be completed in 2011, officials from Japan's ministry for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced on Monday. This means it will be able to perform 10 x 10^15 mathematical calculations every second - better known as floating-point operations (or flops). A desktop computer, for perspective, has a maximum performance of roughly one billion flops.

(...) The record-breaking behemoth will be used to simulate climate change, galaxy formations and to predict the behaviour of new drugs.

(...) The fastest computer in the world today is Blue Gene/L, developed by IBM and the US government and installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, US. This system has demonstrated the ability to perform at a peak speed of 136.8 teraflops - or 136.8 x 10^12 flops.

So now I can't settle for anything less than a 10 petaflop machine with multiple breeds of processor in a single system - all I have to do is wait for it to show up at Walmart so I can afford it.

Sourced by Debra Donham Barr

Posted by Hyscience at July 29, 2005 10:23 PM

I enjoy your science posts, but your politics are clownish.

Posted by: Biff Tannen at July 30, 2005 12:29 AM

Multiple breeds of processors. Sounds good. It's time for me to get something more than 2 P3's.

I'm thinking at least dual xeons. Still, just to have access to a machine like Japan is building would be amazing. I'd be happy with being able to work on Blue Gene.

I have worked some on the large machine that runs V-RAC at Iowa State. That was fun!

Posted by: tyler at July 30, 2005 12:30 AM

Tyler: How about dual/dual AMD64s?

Posted by: Biff Tannen at July 30, 2005 12:32 AM

Biff, it's a definate possibility. Dual AMD64 chips would be a much more affordable route. My father just got a quad Xeon setup and the damn thing flies like crazy. 64bit is so tempting. I will probably end up going with AMD just because I've always bought Intel for my personal machines and servers. Time for a change.

It's safe for me to do so now that there's a 64-bit offshot of Slackware, called Slamd64.

Posted by: tyler at July 30, 2005 12:52 AM

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