In the super-computing league table, the U.S. has reclaimed ‘top spot’ from Japan.
IBM’s Sequoia computer, which is 1.55 times faster than Japan’s previous record-breaker, the Fujitsu K Computer, was installed and switched on at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Throwing evidence behind Moore’s Law – which dictates that computers get twice as powerful and twice as small every 18 months – the new super-computer is a powerful machine.
It can perform – in less than a second – calculations which would take the super computers of 1993 three days to solve.
In fact, the IBM team say it is 273,930 times more powerful than the 1993 machine – called the CM-5/1024 and created by American firm Thinking Machines.
Sequoia is capable of calculating, in one hour, ‘what otherwise would take 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years.’
The computer will be used carry out simulations to help extend the life of nuclear weapons, in a bid to avoid real-world underground tests
Sequoia and uses over 1.5 million processors – to put that in perspective, your brand-new, luxurious £1,500 desktop PC will like be a quad-core, e.g. with four processors.
Sequoia also represents continued American leadership in high performance computing.’
It is also the machine with relatively outstanding economy power-wise, consuming 7.9 megawatts compared to the K computer, which consumes12.6 megawatts.
Other countries with supercomputers include China and Japan, with two apiece, and and Germany, France and Italy each have one.
IBM has built five out of the top 10 computers.