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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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