WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists unveiled the Roadrunner, the world’s fastest supercomputer Monday, a $100-million machine that for the first time has performed 1,000 trillion calculations per second in a sustained exercise.Quote has been trimmed
To put its speed in perspective, if every one of the six billion people on Earth used a hand-held computer and worked 24 hours a day it would take them 46 years to do what the Roadrunner can do in a single day. Or, it has roughly the computing power of 100,000 of today’s most powerful laptops stacked 2.5 kilometres high.
The technology breakthrough was accomplished by engineers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and IBM Corp. on a computer to be used primarily on nuclear weapons work, including simulating nuclear explosions.
The Roadrunner is twice as fast as IBM’s Blue Gene system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which itself is three times faster than any of the world’s other supercomputers, according to IBM.
"The computer is a speed demon. It will allow us to solve tremendous problems," said Thomas D’Agostino, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear weapons research.