IBM last week secured the top spot in the rankings for world's fastest supercomputer as Blue Gene/L ran at a sustained speed of 36.01 teraflops, or trillions of calculations per second.
Blue Gene/L knocked NEC's Earth Simulator from the top spot on the Top 500 list for world's fastest computers. At a peak speed of 35.86 teraflops, the Japan-based Simulator had set the record for fastest machine in 2002 and held fast to it.
Armonk, N.Y.'s IBM achieved the milestone during a Linpack benchmark test for mathematical computations at IBM's production facility in Rochester, Minn., according to an IBM statement.
IBM said that Blue Gene/L is special for its size compared to the Yokohama, Japan-based Simulator, which gauges climate changes. Blue Gene/L is one-hundredth the physical size (320 vs. 32,500 square feet) and consumes one-twentieth the power (216 kilowatts vs. 6,000 KW) of the Earth Simulator.
While it is true many supercomputers are used to help map out defense systems for nations, IBM is proud of the fact that Blue Gene/L is geared toward broad applicability.
For example, the largest planned Blue Gene/L machine, which is scheduled for delivery to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California in early 2005, will occupy 64 full racks, with a peak performance of 360 teraflops.
LLNL researchers will use the machine to simulate cosmology and the behavior of stellar binary pairs, laser-plasma interactions, and the behavior and aging of high explosives.
Earlier this month, the Tokyo-based Computational Biology Research Center (CBRC) of The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan tabbed Blue Gene/L to map out 3-D protein structures.
Other practical uses for Blue Gene systems will be in the oil and life sciences sectors.
In addition to NEC and IBM, HP, Dell, Cray, SGI, and Sun Microsystems populate the Top 500 list. The Top 500 list is scheduled to be released in November in time for the SC2004 conference.
This article was originally published on internetnews.com.