Sunday, May 10

Trainers And A Teraflop

In the digital era, one is never alone.

Speaking of this age, in 1996 the US government built the world's fastest supercomputer, the ASCI Red, to simulate nuclear tests and similar high complexity events. It cost $55 million and its one hundred cabinets occupied about one tennis court of space. It was the first computer to score above one teraflop or one-trillion floating point operations per second. To do this, it used eight hundred kilowatts per hour, about as much as eight hundred homes would.  In '97, it hit 1.8 teraflops

Nine years later another computer hit 1.8 teraflops yet taking up less than a tenth of a square meter of space and drawing about two hundred watts of power.  The PlayStation 3, launched in 2003, retailed for under $500 and sold 64 million units (the ASCI Red was taken offline in 2006).