Blue Gene computer grows up and goes off to work

The world's fastest supercomputer just got much faster.

IBM-built Blue Gene/L, located at the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, celebrated the 10th anniversary of its conception with a performance of 280.6 trillion operations per second on the industry standard LINPACK benchmark. Yesterday, the agency officially dedicated BlueGene/L, which was already No. 1 on the Top 500 list of supercomputers.

With the 10-year project officially complete, Energy will use Blue Gene/L, starting in February 2006, to view 3-D simulations of nuclear material's aging. The artillery cannot be tested underground, so scientists and engineers will model weapons deterioration and aging digitally. The visualizations help ensure the safety and security of the nuclear stockpile.

Blue Gene/L and its companion supercomputer, Purple, will power the country’s three weapons labs with a half of a petaflop, or half of a quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) operations per second, more speed than any other supercomputing facility.

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