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High Speed, Low Power

IBM's experimental supercomputer achieves 1.4 trillion operations per second
Blue Gene/L, an experimental IBM supercomputer designed for high speed and low power, is the 73rd-fastest system in the world, according to test results released by the vendor last week. The benchmark shows the system, being assembled under government contract for Lawrence Livermore National Lab, sustaining 1.4 trillion mathematical operations per second.

But IBM is enlarging the system almost daily, says VP Dave Turek. "In two weeks, you might see 3 teraflops." Eventually, IBM plans to build Blue Gene/L into a 360-teraflop machine, which could be the world's fastest. The announcement comes in advance of a supercomputing conference in Phoenix this week.

Turek calls Blue Gene/L a "concept car," part of broader IBM research into building a supercomputer based on data-chip "cells" that contain microprocessors and memory. The design speeds data access in the computer and consumes less power.