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Sunday, March 22, 2009

IBM's Sequoia-Supercomputers

IBM will supply Sequoia, the world's fastest supercomputer to the U.S. Department of Energy in the next few years including one to be in use in 2012 that will ultimately scale to 20 petaflops, an estimated ten times the performance of today's most powerful system. The Sequoia system will use 45nm processors with as many as 16 cores per chip running at a significantly faster data rate. The Sequoia system will be 15 times faster than BlueGene/P with roughly the same footprint and a modest increase in power consumption. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) under the U.S. Department of Energy said IBM powerful machines will help maintain U.S. leadership in high performance computing and promote scientific discovery.

The Sequoia is a petascale Blue Gene/Q supercomputer constructed by IBM for the National Nuclear Security Administration as part of the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program (ASC). It is scheduled to go online in 2011 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It was revealed in February 2009; the targeted performance of 20 petaflops(The FLOPS is a measure of a computer's performance,) was more than the combined performance of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, about 20 times faster than then reigning champion Roadrunner.(The IBM Roadrunner is the first supercomputer to sustain one petaFLOPS.) Roadrunner is a supercomputer built by IBM at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA. Currently the world's fastest computer, the US$133-million Roadrunner is designed for a peak performance of 1.7 petaflops, achieving 1.026 on May 25, 2008.

IBM will also build a smaller prototype called "Dawn", capable of 500 teraflops, using the Blue Gene/P design, to evaluate the Sequoia design. This system will be delivered in April 2009.


1. A prefix that means:
2. One quadrillion (1015), as in petahertz, one quadrillion hertz.
3. 250 (that is, 1,125,899,906,842,624), which is the power of two closest to a quadrillion, as in petabyte.

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