Feeds

BlueGene sneaks past Earth Simulator

Supercomputer chart officially out of date

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

The Earth Simulator, an NEC supercomputer, is surpassed, at last. IBM announced yesterday that its Blue Gene/L supercomputer had achieved a sustained performance of 36.01 teraflops, or 36.01 trillion floating point calculations per second. Earth Simulator's highest recorded performance is 35.86 teraflops.

The margin by which Blue Gene/L overtook the Earth Simulator is small, but the machine is much smaller, and more efficient to run, IBM says. Blue Gene/L's footprint is one per cent that of the Earth Simulator, and its power demands are just 3.6 per cent of the NEC supercomputer.

David Turek, vice president for deep computing at IBM, says the machine is the beginning of a new era in supercomputing. BlueGene/L is built from standardised components, a departure from IBM's traditional, proprietary, DeepBlue technology. A prototype was ranked fourth in the world, until it was bested by another IBM machine, delivered to the US military.

This month, Japanese research laboratory AIST announced it had ordered a BlueGene/L supercomputer for use in its protein research.

A spokesman for NEC said he was not worried that IBM has batted the Earth simulator aside. He told The Register: "You have to remember that the Earth simulator has a peak performance of 40 teraflops, but that its actual operating performance is 90 per cent of that - just under 36 teraflops. The IBM machine is not as efficient."

Supercomputers are rated in two categories: their theoretical peak performance, and their recorded maximum performance. The latter determines their position on the Top 500 list of super computers, but the former sheds light on operational efficiency.

The NEC spokesman also reiterated statements made to the press this summer, that NEC is working on a new technology that will surpass its SX-6 supercomputer, but he could not say when it will launch.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the prototype on which IBM recorded its 36.01 teraflop score was built from 16,000 processors. A bigger version, the size of half a tennis court, with 130,000 processors on board, will be built for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

It will have a peak performance of 360 teraflops, and scientists will use the machine to study the degradation of America's nuclear stockpile. ®

Related stories

Brits to demo world's largest computing grid
NASA splashes out on shiny supercomputer
US Navy buys IBM supercomputer
NEC declares Teraflopian war

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.