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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
World's Fastest Computer
17 December 1996 7:30 pm
WASHINGTON--Breaking the sound barrier may have been more sexy, but a computer designed by Intel Corp. has performed an equally awesome feat: It is the first to perform 1 trillion mathematical operations per second, known as a teraflops. The breakthrough was announced here yesterday by the Department of Energy (DOE), which will use the $55 million supercomputer for everything from simulating nuclear-weapons decay and explosions to predicting the weather.
"Just a few years ago, a teraflops was an intellectual barrier that nature dared us to cross," says Craig Barrett, Intel's executive vice president. The new machine is about 2.5 times faster than the previous record holder, a Hitachi machine that can perform 350 billion operations per second.
The muscles driving this speedster are 4536 pairs of Intel's next-generation PC microprocessor, called the P6 or the Pentium Pro. Each pair forms a node, or computational unit. One of the biggest challenges was designing a nerve center to flex these muscles efficiently. Intel designed special network interface chips to handle messages between each P6 pair, and new software to oversee this data deluge and run programs. Once these components were designed, "everything else came together really quick," says Alex Larzelere, DOE's director of strategic computing.
The supercomputer, comprised of 80 refrigerator-sized units, is still undergoing test runs at Intel headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. It's expected to be shipped next month to its permanent home, Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and up and running in February.