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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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RE: 2012??
By grath on 2/4/2009 1:21:14 AM , Rating: 5
As long as potential bad guys have them, we need to have them. As the stockpile ages, warheads need to be decomissioned, so we need to build new ones. We need to know if the new ones will work. We have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, not ratified it yet, but we adhere to it and have not tested since 1992. Given the option between resuming underground nuclear testing and building a supercomputer to simulate it, would you not build the supercomputer? At least it can do other things too.

RE: 2012??
By Dianoda on 2/4/2009 12:56:49 PM , Rating: 1
The US is so sneaky. 'Sure, we won't actually test the nuclear weapons, but that doesn't mean we're not going to test the weapons.' Building a computer to test it for you kinda violates the spirit of the treaty, but whatevers.

Now I just want to know, how the heck does it work? Are they simulating atom to atom interactions? On a grand scale? I guess they just build as complex and realistic a model for an atom as possible and replicate it a few billion times into the shape of the blueprint, and tell the computer to make it happen. And while the computer's working on the output, they probably just dick around.

'Suppose the bomb was under assault by a legion of fuzzy bunnies...We should really know exactly what would happen, just in case.' Ah, taxpayer dollars at their finest.

And I'm all for decommissioning old warheads, but as far as making new ones, how many do we really need, tactical or otherwise? It's not like were in a cold war with anyone. I say, just keep a few good eggs and say you got lots, I mean, come on, who would ever be able to call your bluff? Makes security a lot easier. And would be oh so much cheaper, spend that money you saved on some of those sweet looking rail-guns or a really big orbital laser. Or an orbital laser rail-gun. Impossible, completely illogical? Maybe. Awesome? definitely. Wave of the future!

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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