IBM Blue Gene/P most powerful supercomputer in the world

By Justin Mann on June 26, 2007, 5:29 PM
This certainly won't help any of us on the desktop, but it was interesting to see IBM's statement regarding their newest supercomputer. The next iteration of their world-famous Blue Gene design has been introduced, called Blue Gene/P. This new machine is taking the title of most powerful supercomputer in the world, with processing speeds exceeding a petaflop, which is one quadrillion operations per second.

This has led IBM to make some bold claims in their press release, equating the performance to modern desktop computers. They claim it is more than 100,000 times as powerful as a desktop, though the processing potential for this beast will be used on much different tasks:

The result is a machine that towers over other systems. It enables science and commercial supercomputing to attack vital problems in ways never before possible -- 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.
On top of being extremely powerful, IBM also makes the claim that the new Blue Gene has been designed from the ground up to be energy-efficient, relatively. They claim it is, inch for inch, seven times more efficient than any other super computer. This is largely due to its design, which was focused around getting a lot of processing power into a small space:

The Blue Gene supercomputer was purpose-built to fit in smaller spaces and use less electricity compared to other commercially available designs. Today, the Blue Gene/P supercomputer is at least seven times more energy efficient than any other supercomputer.
You can read the full press release on IBM's site.




User Comments: 5

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MetalX said:
I wonder how many frames per second it gets in Oblivion...Just kidding.Interesting, but why do we need such incredibly powerful supercomputers if home networks can be used like Folding@home? Also, instead of incorporating hundreds or thousands of CPUs, why not use GPUs? I mean, an advanced GPU offers in excess of 1TFLOP, compared to 10-20GFLOPS of a CPU.
kitty500cat said:
Isn't it stream processing that makes GPUs so powerful? If so, they could just incorporate that into CPU design.The question is, does stream processing cost more or less per GFLOP than the currect architecture? Or are they using stream processing in Blue Gene/P units now??It does make me wonder how much energy one of the 3-petaflop units takes.
Julio said:
[b]Originally posted by MetalX:[/b][quote]Interesting, but why do we need such incredibly powerful supercomputers if home networks can be used like Folding@home? Also, instead of incorporating hundreds or thousands of CPUs, why not use GPUs? I mean, an advanced GPU offers in excess of 1TFLOP, compared to 10-20GFLOPS of a CPU. [/quote]Supercomputers have existed for a long long time, and while at this point it's not the only solution to huge computational problems, it was the most obvious way to go a decade ago or so. Today many companies run server farms which can prove more cost-effective (think Google) - here's an interesting read:[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercomputer[/url]Al
o think that IT companies like IBM like to develop such complex and capable machines in part just to keep their brand status as a leader of the industry.
nimo333 said:
I wonder of what kind a gaming server it would be, probably handles 1million of players.
thebaronjocelin said:
I doubt that type of supercomputer is anything but silicon and CPU (and the obligatory etchings). So, naturally, no Ethernet controller. God, to see what hell a hacker could wreak with that machine. Minimal graphics, as in probably just a tiny little AGP, just to let people know the results of the calculation. People always complain about their processor bottlenecking their GFX card, well, you can call this a role reversal.
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