By JOHN MARKOFF
Published: June 9, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO — An American military supercomputer, assembled from components originally designed for video game machines, has reached a long-sought-after computing milestone by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second.
The new machine is more than twice as fast as the previous fastest supercomputer, the I.B.M. BlueGene/L, which is based at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
[THE MOST IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH IN THIS ARTICLE COMES AT THE VERY END:]
By breaking the petaflop barrier sooner than had been generally expected, the United States’ supercomputer industry has been able to sustain a pace of continuous performance increases, improving a thousandfold in processing power in 11 years. The next thousandfold goal is the exaflop, which is a quintillion calculations per second, followed by the zettaflop, the yottaflop and the xeraflop.
””’”IMPROVED A THOUSANDFOLD IN 11 YEARS”””
THAT IS AN EXPONENTIAL TREND!
…To put the performance of the machine in perspective, Thomas P. D’Agostino, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that if all six billion people on earth used hand calculators and performed calculations 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it would take them 46 years to do what the Roadrunner can in one day….
WHAT IF THEY HAD TO DO ALL THOSE CALCULATIONS BY HAND? SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW! THESE SUPERCOMPUTERS ARE AN EXAMPLE OF THE EXPONENTIAL MAD RUSH TOWARD THE SINGULARITY.