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27 Jun 07. Supercomputer steps up the pace. BlueGene/L will be succeeded by the new supercomputers. The world’s fastest commercial supercomputer has been launched by computer giant IBM. Blue Gene/P is three times more potent than the current fastest machine, BlueGene/L, also built by IBM. The latest number cruncher is capable of operating at so called “petaflop” speeds – the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second. Approximately 100,000 times more powerful than a PC, the first machine has been bought by the US government. It will be installed at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne NationalTwo further machines are planned for US laboratories and a fourth has been bought by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council for its Daresbury Laboratory Cheshire. The ultra powerful machines will be used for complex simulations to study everything from particle physics to nanotechnology. Currently the most powerful machine is Blue Gene/L, housed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Blue Gene/L, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California. (280.6 teraflops; 131,072 processors)
Jaguar, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee (101.7 teraflops; 11,706 processors)
Red Storm, Sandia National Laboratories, USA (101.4 teraflops; 26,544 processors)
BGW Blue Gene, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, New York (91.29 teraflops; 40,960 processors)
New York Blue, Stony Brook/BNL, New York Center for Computational Sciences, New York (82.161 teraflops; 36,864 processors)
Source: Top 500 Supercomputers
Used to ensure that the US nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe and reliable, it has achieved 280.6 teraflops or trillions of calculations per second. The machine packs 131,072 processors and is theoretically capable of reaching 367 teraflops. By comparison the standard one petaflop Blue Gene/P comes with 294,912-processors connected by a high-speed, optical network. However, it can be expanded to pack 884,736 processors, a configuration that would allow the machine to compute 3,000 trillion calculations per second (three petaflops). “Blue Gene/P marks the evolution of the most powerful supercomputing platform the world has ever known,” said Dave Turek, vice president of deep computing, IBM. (Source: BBC)

27 Jun 07. Thales UK launches MILTRAK, a compact and lightweight situational awareness system for the soldier. The WBR Soldier Technology Conference in London sees the first public exhibition of MILTRAK, an advanced, compact and lightweight digitised soldier system from Thales UK. MILTRAK will improve the operational effectiveness of front line combat troops by providing commanders with vital situational awareness (SA) information, updated every few seconds. MILTRAK is a simple to use, flexible system comprising of a navigation (NAV) module and a small, ruggedised display for commanders. The total system weight (not including radio) is just 0.5kg. The system is connected to any suitable data capable personal radio, which can transmit and receive positional data. The primary function of the system is to provide SA by displaying the positions of similarly equipped, friendly (blue) forces, overlaid on a relational display, raster map or geo-referenced aerial photograph. Icons clearly indicate the identity and status of troops, significantly improving command and control and making it simple to identify and locate casualties. Navigation is enhanced through the ability to plan, share and follow routes, even where mapping is not available. Simple symbology can be exchanged between commanders, while target hand-offs can be undertaken with the addition of a suitable laser rangefinder. All functions, including adjustment of user selected parameters, are accessed via a simple on-screen menu system making it easy to learn and operate even under stressful conditions.

05 Jul 07. Lockheed

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