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IBM's Blue Gene Supercomputer Ranked 73rd in World
Nov 17, 2003
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International Business Machines Inc.’s (IBM) Research Division (Yorktown Heights, NY, U.S.) has announced that a computer roughly the size of a 30-in television has been ranked as the 73rd most powerful supercomputer in the world.

The Top500 Supercomputer project will this week announce its latest ranking of the 500 most powerful supercomputers, as measured by an industry-standard benchmark. With a peak speed of 2 teraflops (2 trillion mathematical operations per sec), an initial small-scale prototype of IBM's Blue Gene/L supercomputer has been rated as a world-leader, even though it occupies a mere half-rack of space, about 1 cubic m.

The full Blue Gene/L machine, which is being built for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, will be 128 times larger, occupying 64 full racks. When completed in 2005, IBM expects Blue Gene/L to lead the Top500 supercomputer list.

Compared with today's fastest supercomputers, it will be six times faster, consume 1/15th the power per computation and be 10 times more compact than today's fastest supercomputers.

"Blue Gene's entry onto the Top500 list marks a fracture in the history of supercomputing -- it will revolutionize the way supercomputers and servers are built and broaden the kinds of applications we can run on them," said William Pulleyblank, director of exploratory server systems, IBM Research. "This is a major milestone for the Blue Gene family of supercomputers and a scientific achievement resulting from IBM's sustained commitment to exploratory research."

The Blue Gene/L prototype machine is roughly 1/20th the physical size of machines of comparable compute power that currently exist -- such as Linux clusters. By comparison, today's 2 teraflop supercomputers fill up entire rooms, often with more than a dozen racks.

By making dramatic reductions in power consumption, cost and space requirements, IBM researchers are helping to turn massively parallel computing into an affordable, practical and accessible tool for science and industry.

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