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IBM is currently developing a supercomputer it hopes will be able to deliver 20 petaflops per second

IBM announced ambitious plans to create a new supercomputer that will be 20 times faster than its current Roadrunner supercomputer.  The new supercomputer, dubbed "Sequoia," will operate at a whopping 20 petaflops, and is significantly faster than IBM's previous supercomputers.

The new supercomputer will be used at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, and will allow researchers to use the powerful computer for simulations of U.S. nuclear weapons.  Lawrence Livermore is using the IBM BlueGene/L system until Sequoia is ready.

The system will be stored and used in a 3,422 sq. ft. building in Livermore -- it will be energy efficient, with IBM expecting it to use 6 megawatts per year, which is equivalent to 500 American homes. 

Sequoia may be able to provide a 40- to 50-fold improvement in the country's ability to provide data, including severe storm forecasting, earthquake predictions and evacuation routes due to national emergency, IBM said in a statement.

The system will use 45nm processors that have up to 16 cores per chip, and will have 1.6 petabytes of memory shared by 1.6 million cores.  It will be 15 times faster than BlueGene/P and have the same footprint with only a "modest" increase in power consumption.

IBM's latest announcement comes just seven months after IBM delivered the fastest supercomputer, Roadrunner, to the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory.  The supercomputer was the first system to break the 1 petaflop barrier, clocking in at 1.026 petaflops.

IBM also is working on other supercomputers that will be used by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and should be available before 2011.

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Power usage
By mcnabney on 2/3/2009 4:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
An average home does not use 12KW. That is about $900 per month electric bill as an average household. I think their decimal point floated over a bit. Six megawatts is enough for thousands of homes.

RE: Power usage
By TennesseeTony on 2/3/2009 4:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
No, the article is correct. The figures given were for an entire year, which, depending on how much you pay per kilowatt of juice, is only about $70-$90 per month, for each house, for a year.

RE: Power usage
By TennesseeTony on 2/3/2009 4:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
Must be really small houses, by the way. Or maybe they have wood burners, or rely on natural gas for heating, or...

RE: Power usage
By SiliconJon on 2/3/2009 4:37:17 PM , Rating: 2
My house averages about 1.3MW's per month, so that's about right considering my house is all electric.

RE: Power usage
By SiliconJon on 2/3/2009 4:45:08 PM , Rating: 3
Me thinks we have a lot of errors from the posts and the blog when added together...egads.

RE: Power usage
By masher2 (blog) on 2/3/2009 4:39:34 PM , Rating: 5
> "The figures given were for an entire year"

The statement "Megawatts per year" is nonsensical. You pay for a unit of energy, which is power times a unit of time.

The OP was correct. Homes do not average 12 kW of power consumption. The figure is off by a factor of 10.

RE: Power usage
By jbartabas on 2/3/2009 4:54:45 PM , Rating: 2
The sad thing is that I've have already seen these exact 2 very obvious mistakes on a few web sites today ...

RE: Power usage
By jimpaka on 2/4/2009 3:38:39 PM , Rating: 3
Finally - thank you. It's shocking that so few people understand the difference between a Watt and a Watt hour.

"1 Watt" is a RATE of energy consumption (1 Joule per second), not an AMOUNT of energy. An AMOUNT of energy can be stated in Joules (Watt seconds) or as is more common, Watt hours (Wh), KiloWatt hours (KWh), MegaWatt hours (MWh) and so on.

As masher pointed out, MegaWatts per year does not make sense in this context. MegaWatt hours per year does make sense when describing how much energy a particular system is using. You can describe the same thing by simply stating that the system uses X MegaWatts.

Also, shame on the author of the article for getting this wrong.

RE: Power usage
By diego10arg on 2/3/2009 5:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
They just feel the need to make it sound greener.

Oh, wait..!

RE: Power usage
By winterspan on 2/4/2009 1:46:59 AM , Rating: 5
I can't believe how many of you guys (in addition to the writer) aren't seeing the glaringly obvious ERROR!

Energy is NOT measured in Watts! The Watt is a unit of power! It's Watt-hours! Who knows what the actual correct figure is..

RE: Power usage
By teldar on 2/4/2009 5:46:23 AM , Rating: 2
What's a lightbulb use?

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