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IBM researcher Shawn Hall inspects a new Blue Gene/P supercomputer (Source: IBM)
IBM's Blue Gene/P triples the performance of its previous supercomputer

IBM has 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 – which also held the title of being the world's fastest computer.

The Blue Gene/P scales to operate continuously at speeds exceeding one petaFLOP – or one-quadrillion operations per second – and can be configured to reach speeds in excess of three petaflops.

The performance jump from Blue Gene/L and Blue Gene/P is due to several factors. In hardware, the Blue Gene/P supercomputer doubles the number of processors per chip, with each processor operating at a higher clock speed. More memory is added along with an SMP mode to support multi-threaded applications. This new SMP mode moves the Blue Gene/P system to a programming environment similar to that found in commercial clusters. The system’s software is also upgraded for Blue Gene/P with refinements to system management, programming environment and applications support.

"Blue Gene/P marks the evolution of the most powerful supercomputing platform the world has ever known," said Dave Turek, vice president of deep computing, IBM. "A new group of commercial users will be able to take advantage of its new, simplified programming environment and unrivaled energy efficiency. We see commercial interest in the Blue Gene supercomputer developing now in energy and finance, for example. This is on course with an adoption cycle – from government labs to leading enterprises – that we've seen before in the high-performance computing market."

Four IBM PowerPC 450 processors running at 850 MHz are integrated on a single Blue Gene/P chip, with each chip 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.

The one-petaFLOP Blue Gene/P supercomputer configuration is a 294,912-processor, 72-rack system harnessed to a high-speed, optical network. The Blue Gene/P system can be scaled to an 884,736-processor, 216-rack cluster to achieve three-petaflop performance – though a standard Blue Gene/P supercomputer configuration will house 4,096 processors per rack.

Not only is the Blue Gene/P designed to be blazingly fast, it is also energy efficient. IBM says that the Blue Gene/P supercomputer is at least seven times more energy efficient than any other supercomputer today.

The power of the Blue Gene/P could be applied to the medical field, such as modeling an entire human organ to determine drug interactions, for example. Drug researchers could run simulated clinical trials on 27 million patients in one afternoon using just a sliver of the machine's full power.

Some of the world's leading research laboratories and universities have already placed orders for Blue Gene/P supercomputers. The U.S. Dept. of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill., will deploy the first Blue Gene/P supercomputer in the U.S. beginning later this year.

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By ForumMaster on 6/27/2007 12:37:59 PM , Rating: 0
Yeah, but can it play Doom?

RE: :D
By Kuroyama on 6/27/2007 12:41:54 PM , Rating: 5
pet-a-flop = a dog that flops down when you pet it

So, no, unless your dog is very talented then it probably can't play Doom.

PS. Yes, I have a ridiculous sense of humor.

RE: :D
By DeepBlue1975 on 6/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: :D
By MobileZone on 6/28/2007 2:19:23 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I was looking for a new machine to use with 3DMax. Does anyone know if they give discount for cash payment?

RE: :D
By xphile on 6/28/2007 3:12:29 AM , Rating: 2
My ridiculous sense of humor has always found it funny that supercomputers are measured by how fast they FLOP. I've generally rated a quick computer on how fast it WORKS - but what the hell do I know :-)

RE: :D
By FITCamaro on 6/27/2007 12:54:52 PM , Rating: 5
It's so fast it can play Doom 5.

RE: :D
By OblivionMage on 6/27/2007 5:01:46 PM , Rating: 1
You don't even need to buy games for this baby. You just type in, no think of a games name and this machine will make the game for you, as your thinking of it.

RE: :D
By UNCjigga on 6/27/2007 5:05:45 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't care much for Doom, but I bet it likes a mean game of chess against Kasparov now and then.

RE: :D
By rninneman on 6/27/2007 1:06:38 PM , Rating: 5
I haven't heard about whether it can play doom, but rumor is that it can boot Windows in just under 4 minutes! :D

RE: :D
By MADAOO7 on 6/27/2007 1:13:10 PM , Rating: 5
But it stills struggles to use Aero

RE: :D
By Master Kenobi on 6/27/2007 2:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
Doesnt support Pixel Shader 2.0, not AERO capable :D

RE: :D
By Zurtex on 6/27/2007 3:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
That kind of power could probably emulate graphics card functions, probably :P.

RE: :D
By adamf663 on 6/28/2007 2:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
In 2015 such power will be on the average desktop
In 2020, it won't be fast enough for a desktop refresh for the current version of microsoft's operating system.

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