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NASA's Columbia supercomputer is world's fastest.

Silicon Graphics (NYSE: SGI) with NASA today confirmed that NASA's new Intel Itanium 2 processor-based Columbia supercomputer is the most powerful computer in the world. Only days after NASA completed installation of Columbia-and using just 16 of Columbia's 20 installed systems-the new supercomputer achieved sustained performance of 42.7 trillion calculations per second (teraflops), eclipsing the performance of every supercomputer operating today.

Built from SGI Altix systems and driven by 10,240 Intel Itanium 2 processors, Columbia's 16-system result easily tops Japan's famed Earth Simulator, rated at 35.86 teraflops, and IBM's recent in-house Blue Gene/L experiment, rated at 36.01 teraflops. Columbia's record results were achieved running the LINPACK benchmark on 8,192 of the NASA supercomputer's 10,240 processors. Columbia also achieved an 88 percent efficiency rating on the LINPACK benchmark, the highest efficiency rating ever attained in a LINPACK test on large systems.

While LINPACK is popular as a yardstick of supercomputing performance, NASA is primarily interested in how the Columbia system will revolutionize the rate of scientific discovery at the Agency.

"Benchmarks are useful for confirming that Columbia is meeting our performance expectations, but the numbers we find most significant are something else altogether," said Walt Brooks, division chief, Advanced Supercomputing Division, NASA. "For instance, we find the number five to be significant. This is because with Columbia, scientists are discovering they can potentially predict hurricane paths a full five days before the storms reach landfall--an enormous improvement over today's two-day warnings and one that may present huge advantages for saving human life and property."
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Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
Words:260
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