The system, which is in the process of being installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, already topped a list of the last November with a .
The latest performance increase was achieved by doubling the number of racks in the system to 32. If the design continues on this path, the final machine with 64 racks will perform at about 270 teraflops later this year.
Each rack contains. Each processor, a special variant of IBM's Power family, has dual-processing engines called cores. For running the basic performance test used to rank the top 500 computers (a test known as Linpack), each core can perform calculation work, but in many tasks one of the cores will be devoted to communications.
to build a system that could perform 1 quadrillion calculations per second--a petaflop--but IBM is trying to make a business out of the machine. It's begun for about $2 million per rack and is .
Blue Gene/L is one of several products stemming from IBM's focus on high-performance technical computing. The company is trying to secure the top spot in the market from Hewlett-Packard and keep its machines ahead of high-end rivals including Silicon Graphics and NEC.
IBM has said the full system will be installed by May, and Livermore Lab spokesman Don Johnston said it should be up and running in July.
Livermore's Blue Gene/L initially was expected to be used for nonclassified work, but its mission expanded to include weapons research as the lab realized it could be useful there too, Johnston said.
The computer has been used to simulate the interactions of 16 million atoms in a sample of tantalum that's solidifying under pressure, but Blue Gene/L isn't suited for all supercomputing tasks.
DOE purchased Blue Gene/L as part of a $290 million deal that also included a system now called. Purple uses fewer, more-powerful processors with more memory, a design that makes it better suited to its primary purpose: complex simulations of nuclear weapons physics.
ASC Purple is based onservers. IBM will start delivering ASC Purple to the Livermore lab in April, and it should be complete in July or August, Johnston said.