The National Science
Foundation has been authorized by the National Science Board to spend $208 million to build a supercomputer capable of performing a thousand trillion mathematical operations/second, known in computational speed as a ‘petaflop.’
The winner of the competitive bid for a petascale supercomputer is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, Illinois. The supercomputer has been named ‘Blue Waters’ and will be built at the U. of Illinois’s Urbana National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) by NCSA and IBM.
Blue Gene/L, currently the world’s fastest supercomputer, was built by IBM and has only about 33% the expected capability that Blue Waters will have.
Building such a petascale supercomputer will require hundreds of thousands of processors to run it, a huge number of fans to cool it, not to mention power to run it and space to build it. Blue Waters will likely require so much space that the University does not think it will fit in its current facility.
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