IBM claims supercomputer lead

IBM Corp.'s BlueGene/L supercomputer, which the company is building for the Energy Department, clocks in at slightly more than 36 teraflops, or trillions of operations per second, making it faster than Japan's Earth Simulator, IBM said last month.

The Earth Simulator, built in 2002 by NEC Corp., runs at 35.86 teraflops, according to Top500.org, an authoritative ranking published by a committee of supercomputing experts.

If independent tests bear out IBM's claims, it would mark a significant milestone in a nearly three-year struggle for supercomputing supremacy. The new Top500.org list comes out in November.

BlueGene/L is not yet finished. It will be officially deployed next year at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, complete with 130,000 processors in 64 server racks. IBM expects BlueGene/L to be capable of a theoretical peak performance of 360 teraflops.

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