I'm back from a few days of vacation and attempting to get reoriented back to workplace reality.
Though my dad and I didn't win the golf tournament, we got off to a great start with a 7 point lead -- which we promptly blew during the second round, and which we were never able to recover.
However, we had an absolute blast and came in fourth, and it gave me that much more appreciation for the skilled professional golfers who will be tearing it up out at the Torrey Pines-hosted U.S. Open starting this Thursday.
More on that in later posts...for now, I wanted to highlight some major news of the day and a major milestone.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and its Los Alamos National Laboratory, in partnership with IBM, have developed a computer powerful enough to operate at one petaflop.
A petaflop can accommodate one thousand trillion calculations per second, a speed twice as fast as the current number 1 rated IBM Blue Gene system.
Nicknamed "Roadrunner" (for the New Mexico state bird), this is the world's first hybrid supercomputer, one which employs both Cell Broadband Engine processors in conjunction with AMD x86 processors.
The Roadrunner will be used primarily for ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, but will also be used for research into astronomy, energy, human genome science, and climate change.
If you're curious about the scale of a petaflop, here's one analogy that will help put it in perspective.
Roadrunner's computing capacity is roughly equivalent to the combined computing power of 100,000 of today's fastest laptop computers.
Or, put in more human terms, it would take the entire population of planet earth -- about six billion -- with each of us working a handheld calculator at the rate of one second per calculation, more than 46 years to do what Roadrunner can do in one day.
I'm told Roadrunner would have had no problems even figuring out my dad's and my cumulative golf scores during the three days of the tournament last week. Doh!
Check out this video on YouTube to learn more about Roadrunner and hybrid computing, and this page to get more background on the Roadrunner project.
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