The U.S. government has recently contracted with IBM to make the most powerful supercomputer in the world. This supercomputer, named Sequoia, is said to occupy an estimated 3,422 square feet when completed by its 2011 anticipated delivery.
Now what could the U.S. government want with a supercomputer the size of a large house. The Sequoia will help the U.S. Department of Energy at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to simulate nuclear tests. Simulation of U.S. nuclear weapons will allow scientist to make estimates about the safety and reliability of such weapons without doing any actual real-life testing. Additionally, the Sequoia could potentially be used for peacetime estimations such as weather forecasting and potential oil explorations. Simulation of possible pharmaceutical drugs effects on the human body or possible market events’ economical impact on Wall Street are also some expected capabilities of the Sequoia.
To run such stimulations the Sequoia will be backed by some impressive hardware and software. The supercomputer is said to have the capability of performing at twenty petaFLOPs per second. A FLOP is an acronym meaning FLoating point Operations Per Second- it is a measure of performance for fields like scientific calculations which entail floating point calculations; peta is equal to 1015 as mega is equal to 106. The Sequoia will have the power of two million laptops and hold an approximated 1.6 million processors. It is anticipated that the Sequoia will have 1.6 TB of memory and run on Linux, a highly regarded open operating system. IBM servers have also proven to be respected and capable of supporting such advanced programming.
IBM has been a leader in the supercomputer sector for more than fifty years and continues to be in the forefront of supercomputer technologies.