IBM's new Blue Gene/P supercomputer will be capable of processing more than 3 quadrillion operating per second, or 3 petaflops. CNET writes the machine is designed to continuously operate at more than 1 petaflop in real-world situations:
Blue Gene/P marks a significant milestone in computing. Last November, the Blue Gene/L was ranked as the most powerful computer on the planet: it topped out at 280 teraflops, or 280 trillion operations a second during continuous operation.
Put another way, a Blue Gene/P operating at a petaflop is performing more operations than a 1.5-mile-high stack of laptops.
The development of Blue Gene/P seems certain to extend IBM's position atop the Top 500 Supercomputer list, which comes out this week at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany. IBM had 93 computers on the list when the rankings last came out in November; four were in the top 10.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory will deploy the first Blue Gene/P in the U.S. later this year. Meanwhile, in Germany, the Max Planck Society and the Forschungszentrum Julich research center will start to install a Blue Gene/P in late 2007. Others will be installed at Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Labs (New York facilities that have collaborated with IBM on other projects) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Cheshire, England.
Like the vast majority of other modern supercomputers, Blue Gene/P is composed of several racks of servers lashed together in clusters for large computing tasks, such as running programs that can graphically simulate worldwide weather patterns.