IBM announced the US government has ordered two supercomputers, including one to be in use in 2012 that will ultimately scale to 20 petaflops, that's roughly 20x faster than world's fastest supercomputers. The new systems will be used by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to handle analysis of the US nuclear stockpile. The lab currently uses an IBM BlueGene/L system.
BlueGene/P uses a modified PowerPC 450 processor running at 850 MHz with four cores per chip and as many as 4,096 processors in a rack. The Sequoia system will use 45nm processors with as many as 16 cores per chip running at a significantly faster data rate.
Both BlueGene/P and Sequoia consist of clusters built up from 96 racks of systems. Sequoia will have 1.6 petabytes of memory feeding its 1.6 million cores, but many details of its design have not yet been disclosed.
"The Sequoia system will be 15 times faster than BlueGene/P with roughly the same footprint and a modest increase in power consumption," said Herb Schultz, manager in IBM's deep computing group.