IBM's big announcement; Blue Gene times 3

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Hello, and welcome to the Day of Announcements. Scroll down if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, IBM has revved Blue Gene, thusly

IBM logoIBM today announced Blue Gene/P, the second generation of the world’s most powerful supercomputer. Blue Gene/P nearly triples the performance of its predecessor, Blue Gene/L — currently the world’s fastest computer — while remaining the most energy-efficient and space-saving computing package ever built.

Fun facts about the new rev? We got ’em, courtesy of IBM’s press “give them the quotes they crave” machine

The system is 100,000 times more powerful than a home PC and can process more operations in one second than the combined power of a stack of laptop computers nearly 1.5 miles high.

…Four IBM (850 MHz) PowerPC 450 processors are integrated on a single Blue Gene/P chip. Each chip is capable of 13.6 billion operations per second. A two-foot-by-two-foot board containing 32 of these chips churns out 435 billion operations every second, making it more powerful than a typical, 40-node cluster based on two-core commodity processors. Thirty-two of the compact boards comprise the 6-foot-high racks. Each rack runs at 13.9 trillion operations per second, 1,300 times faster than today’s fastest home PC.

All good, you say, but is it green? You bet your bippy:

The influence of the Blue Gene supercomputer’s energy-efficient design and computing model — once considered exotic — can be seen everywhere in the industry where people have attempted to lower energy use and get performance without traditional reliance on chip frequency. The breakthrough BlueGene supercomputer design uses many small, low-power embedded chips each connected through five specialized networks inside the system.

For the well-heeled, the Blue Gene/P system can be scaled to an 884,736-processor, 216-rack cluster to achieve three-petaflop performance. A standard Blue Gene/P supercomputer configuration will house 4,096 processors per rack.

(And a big “howdy ho” to reader Paul Adams for sending me the first pointer this morning.)


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