Power of Computing, IBM Sequoia Supercomputer

IBM sequoiaLess than a year the world’s fastest supercomputer, IBM has announced an even powerful version. It will have computing power of 2 million laptops. Only sky is the limit as they say. A system made by IBM has been the most powerful computer in the world since November 1999.

As per Reuters report, the new Sequoia computer will be delivered to the Department of Energy for use at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in around in 2011. Sequoia will chug along at 20 petaflops per second (a term for quadrillion and FLOP stands for floating point operations per second – one petaflop equals 1,000 trillion calculations a second) and is one order of magnitude quicker than its predecessor. The earlier machine, delivered in June last year to the Energy Department, broke the 1 petaflop barrier. Sequoia, and a smaller computer called Dawn, are being built in Rochester, Minnesota, for use in simulating nuclear tests. This will be useful for National Nuclear Security Administration to determine whether the American aging nukes are safe and still functional. What is more, 20 petaflops could offer a 50x improvement in our capability to predict earthquakes, allowing scientists to predict an earthquake’s effects on a building-by-building basis across an area as large as Los Angeles County.

Can you imagine how much power this machine will have. Suppose every living person (around 6.7 billion) on earth had a hand calculator and worked together on a calculation 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, it would take 320 years to do what Sequoia will do in one hour.

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