PlayStation Chip Lifts Military Computer to Record Speeds

Los Alamos, IBM team pass petaflop level
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jun 9, 2008 9:36 AM CDT
The Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., is shown in a 1995 aerial file photo provided by the laboratory.   (AP Photo/Los Alamos National Laboratory, File)
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(Newser) – IBM and Los Alamos Laboratory scientists used an amalgam of computer chips, including some designed for use in the PlayStation 3, to blow through one of the computing world’s most pursued milestones—processing more than one thousand trillion calculations per second, reports the New York Times. The petaflop benchmark more than doubles the previous record.

“This is the equivalent to the four-minute mile of supercomputing,” said one expert. The Roadrunner supercomputer will be used to simulate the initial milliseconds of a nuclear explosion, but first will be used to help scientists study global climate change. Roadrunner combines a mix of components and parallel computing technologies that will help make personal and mobile computers faster, too, experts say.