Fastest Supercomputer Ever to Simulate Nuclear Blasts

Seven months after IBM delivered the world's fastest supercomputer, it has announced an even speedier one with the computing power of 2 million laptops.

IBM said on Tuesday it is developing the technology for its new Sequoia computer, with delivery scheduled in 2011 to the Department of Energy for use at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Sequoia will chug along at 20 petaflops per second and is one order of magnitude quicker than its predecessor. The earlier machine, delivered in June to the Energy Department, broke the 1 petaflop barrier.

Peta is a term for quadrillion and FLOP stands for floating point operations per second.

Sequoia, and a smaller computer called Dawn, are being built in Rochester, Minnesota, for use in simulating nuclear tests.

IBM says they can also be used for complex tasks like weather forecasting or oil exploration.

IBM says Sequoia will be highly energy-efficient for the job it does but even so will occupy 96 refrigerator-sized racks in an area the size of a big house — 3,422 square feet (318 square meters).

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