Back in the day, I loved to write about supercomputers – the fastest this, the latest that. Eventually it got old. How many stories can you do about another computer being faster than the last one? But I brought the old tool kit out of retirement yesterday to mark Roadrunner breaking the petaflop barrier. Because really, any time you can get the words “petaflop” and “PlayStation” in the same story, you’re ahead of the game, right?
A team from IBM and Los Alamos has wired together what amounts to thousands of PlayStation video game chips to create the world’s fastest supercomputer.
But they won’t be playing Grand Theft Auto. The machine— capable of a million billion calculations per second— is headed to Los Alamos National Laboratory, where it will be used for nuclear weapons simulations.
As an aside, it’s worth noting that I recently acquired Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner, which I was happy to learn yesterday is number 269 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest rock and roll songs. Am I dating myself?
If you date yourself, at least you will know where you want to go for dinner.
After petaflop and yottaflop, I propose that the next increase in speed be called