Nuclear weapons didn’t bring the world any joy so far, I think we can agree on that. But now there actually has emerged a positive side effect: world’s fasted computer. This beast is designed to run virtual tests of U.S. nukes and makes 1,000 trillion calculations per second while doing so.
Reuters reports that the U.S. Department of Energy announced that the IBM Roadrunner supercomputer is the first one to achieve a petaflop of sustained performance. What a petaflop is? Good question! “Flop” is an acronym meaning floating-point operations per second. One petaflop is – hold on to yourself – 1,000 trillion computer calculations per second.
The department thinks of the supercomputer as a break-through – which is not so hard to imagine – and foresees a bright future, as they expect the Roadrunner to fight global warming and to open “new windows in the basic scientific research fields”.
This sounds all impressive, but I’d like to conclude with a terrific quote from the press release that really shows how incredible this new computer is. Here it comes:
To put this into perspective, if each of the 6 billion people on earth had a hand calculator and worked together on a calculation 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, it would take 46 years to do what Roadrunner would do in one day.