File under strange but true: an IBM developed supercomputer based on the same processor technology that powers the Sony PlayStation 3 has just been officially ratified as the fastest computer on the planet. According to the Top 500 supercomputing rankings, published today at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany, the IBM RoadRunner scoops the top spot.
Not only that, but with a benchmarking of 1.026 petaflops it clocks in at more than twice the speed of the previous number one which has held the title since 2004. A petaflop, in case you need reminding, is one thousand trillion calculations per second. Which would make one heck of a fast game of Quake.
Although first seen in the PlayStation 3, those Cell processors were jointly developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba. Each of them comes complete with a general purpose processor as well as no less than eight co-processors handling high-def graphics and other processor intensive operation functionality.
The IBM RoadRunner can boast no less than 12,240 Cell processors along with its 6,562 dual-core AMD Opteron processors. No wonder, then, that it runs so fast.
No wonder, then, that it cost so much.
How much? Well the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration coughed up around $100 million for the beast, to be used within the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
In case you were wondering, IBM remains King of the Supercomputers with an incredible 210 of the 500 fastest machines on the planet. It might surprise you to learn that IBM is only just ahead of HP though, in second place with 183 machines in the list. No surprise at all to discover that most of them, some 75 percent in fact, have an Intel inside...