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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

IBM to Unveil World's Fastest Computer; Porn Addicts Giddy at the Possibilities

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 8:30 AM

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I'm disturbed by what you're downloading, Dave
Just seven months after creating the world's speediest supercomputer, those enablers at IBM have announced plans to craft one faster yet -- with the power of 2 million laptops (an improvement over my laptop, which has the power of half a laptop).

The machine -- which may or may not sing "Daisy Bell" when its plug is yanked -- will be constructed for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. So, any qualms readers may have about the power of computing being used to download all the world's porn even faster than the San Fernando Valley can produce it will be eased by the notion that "Sequoia" will simply be used to help craft weapons of mass destruction.

IBM workers are set to start work on the Usain Bolt of computers by 2011. Later this year, the company will commence on Sequoia's predecessor, "Dawn" -- which will be capable of 500 "teraflops" -- that is, 500 trillion calculations per second. Sequoia will be an order of magnitude quicker -- it will run at 20 "petaflops" -- e.g. a quadrillion floating point operations per second. A quadrillion, by the way, is a one with 15 zeros following it (1,000,000,000,000,000). To see what a quadrillion pennies would look like, click here.

When complete, Sequoia will occupy 96 refrigerated cabinets (helpfully described as refrigerator-sized by company flacks) occupying 3,422 square feet. A house that size will still cost you $600,000 or more in San Francisco; no word yet on Sequoia's asking price -- but slower predecessors have topped $100 million. Still, a machine capable of nuclear modeling and amassing a porn collection exceeding the Vatican's could be considered a solid investment.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more

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