Wednesday, February 4, 2009

IBM to deliver 20 petaflops computer... that number could be made up.

There's a lot of implications to this...

FTA: IBM has promised the DOE that the computer, part of its Blue Gene series and scheduled for delivery in 2011, will be capable of 20 petaflops, or 20 quadrillion floating operations per second. That's the equivalent of completing calculations in around eight hours that would take a typical Intel-powered (nasdaq: INTC - news - people ) laptop 20,000 years--or, by IBM's count, the ability to finish in one hour a series of computations that would require the entire population of the planet, armed with pocket calculators, 320 years to complete.

That's neat but what I'm interested in is this... From another article: With 20 petaflops of computing power, meteorologists could predict local weather down to the 100-meter range. For an event like a tornado, that could mean being able to predict the path that the twister takes through a town, allowing for targeted evacuations that save lives.

And more importantly, from a third article (this one a couple of years old...): So, to simulate a human brain running in real-time, we need about 20 petaflops of computational capacity.

Personally, I think this guys estimates are way off, but then again, Kurzweil guess is 10 petaflops... Anyway you slice it we're closing in (or are alreaty there). My best estimate, we're about half way between a mouse and man.

One last note, this advance is well ahead of Moore's law.

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