IBM Builds Sequoia As Fastest Supercomputer In The World

IBM is building the world’s supercomputer for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The new Sequoia computer will operate at speeds exceeding 20 petaflops, which is about twenty thousand trillion calculations per second.

IBM Corp is building the world’s supercomputer for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The new Sequoia computer will operate at speeds exceeding 20 petaflops, which is about twenty thousand trillion calculations per second. The supercomputer will be used to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

“These powerful machines will provide NNSA with the capabilities needed to resolve time-urgent and complex scientific problems, ensuring the viability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent into the future. This endeavor will also help maintain U.S. leadership in high-performance computing and promote scientific discovery,” NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino said in a statement.

Running at more than 20 petaflops, the new IBM Sequoia has the speed and power to run 3 million computations from every human on the planet each second. If that’s not remarkable, consider this, it would take 50 years with 120 billion people, armed with calculators, to achieve the work which Sequoia can do in one single day.

Sequoia is actually based on a newer design known as the IBM BlueGene. The technology can run 1.6 million IBM POWER processors and 1.6 perabytes of memory. The supercomputer is housed in 96 refrigerator-sized racks and uses 3,422 square feet. The computer runs on the Linux operating system.

Today’s personal computer used to be the approximate size that houses the new supercomputer in the 1960s. Just imagine what personal computers will look like 40 years henceforth. They will probably have similar power and memory. During that time frame, energy costs to run the computer will be reduced as technology advances.

IBM will deploy Sequoia in 2009 for the NNSA.