"Its exciting to think that we can get the best brains from super-computing and from mass computing and bring those together and make great progress in the decade ahead."
- Bill Gates, at the Super-Computing 2005 Conference in Seattle.
3 years after Bill Gates articulated his vision, progress towards the goal has been both exciting and phenomenal. A new generation of compact,
ultra powerful, energy efficient supercomputers are being installed across the country.
Back in March, Sun Systems and The Texas Advanced Computing Center debuted the most powerful supercomputer ever built, with over
500 teraflops of computing power.
Last week, An American military IBM supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Labratory in California surpassed a computing milestone by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second, or more than a petaflop.
This week, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman announced that the new 'Roadrunner' IBM supercomputer at Los Alamos lab in New Mexico is the first to achieve a petaflop of sustained performance, making it the world's fastest supercomputer. This hybrid computer runs Linux by Red Hat, and is being used to mimic complex human nuerological processes involving the human visual cortex.
"This new supercomputer demonstrates a commitment to achieve a major advance in technological capability that will help enable scientists and businesses solve the most challenging problems," said Bill Zeitler, senior vice president, IBM Systems and Technology Group.
Purdue University also installed a new energy efficient supercomputer in May that uses 40% less energy than standard systems. Gerry McCartney, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Purdue, explains; "Everyone understands in this industry that energy is an issue.
We are trying to find solutions with a new company and a new product because that's where Purdue belongs: with people who are looking for solutions."
A new generation of extremely fast supercomputers raises new possibilities. To plan for this future,
a special panel discussion on "RoadRunner — the First Petaflop/s System in the World and Its Impact
on Supercomputing" will be held June 18th in Dresden, Germany, at the International Supercomputing Conference.
Expect more Universities, labaratories and businesses across the country to install these new supercomputers. The age of the supercomputer has begun.
Copyright 2008 by blinkin. This material may not be reproduced, rebroadcast, or distributed. Photos are copyright of their authors, see pic for credit.
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