NASA Supercomputer Columbia

NASA Supercomputer ColumbiaNASA just announced their newest supercomputer built in collaboration with SGI and Intel – a Linux cluster.

It’s fast. 42.7 teraflops on 16 nodes. If you want to know that that means, “flops” means “floating point operations per second” – it’s a way of encoding numbers with precision. If you can perform 42.7 teraflops, it means this little baby can do

42,700,000,000,000 floating point operations in just 1 second. (over 42 trillion)

And to think, I’m thinking about getting a faster computer so I can play Doom 3…

The system is a combination of 20 systems, each with 512 processors. To make it truly beautiful – this monstrosity of interconnections manifests itself as one single Linux image.

It outperforms Japan’s Earth Simulator which held the record at 37 teraflops.

IBM is currently working on a system called Blue Gene that should be installing a system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory sometime in 2005 – it is supposed to achieve 360 teraflops.

You can check out what it looks like at the NASA site – there are some very nice photos.

Also, read their press release if you like.

SGI also has some images available.