Big Blue Produces Gigantic Computer

Compiled By Jonathan Katz IBM can now boast that it has produced the most powerful computer ever made after it announced the completion of the ASCI White, an RS/6000 SP supercomputer that will be used by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) for nuclear weapons analysis. ASCI White is large enough to span two basketball courts and can produce a record 12.3 teraflops (trillions of operations per second). It is the first computer to ever exceed the double-digit teraflop speed barrier and will be installed at the DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California by the end of the year. "This level of computing power has never been achieved anywhere," says David M. Cooper, associate director for computations and CIO at Lawrence Livermore. "It will open new horizons in scientific computing as we approach our goal to simulate the aging and operation of a nuclear weapon." U.S. Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson, adds that once the system is fully installed it will be an important tool for stockpile stewardship. The DOE's Stockpile Stewardship ASCI Project, which calls for a series of supercomputers to be built over the next several years, was developed in response to a directive from President Clinton.

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