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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.