A Washington Post article today talks about the first petascale supercomputers expected to come online next year. The article points out the vast areas of other fields, which are assisted by computing at such a large scale including geography, medicine, and even financial markets. Heres a sample:
The first “petascale” supercomputer will be capable of 1,000 trillion calculations per second. That’s about twice as powerful as today’s dominant model, a basketball-court-size beast known as BlueGene/L at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California that performs a peak of 596 trillion calculations per second.
The computing muscle of the new petascale machines will be akin to that of more than 100,000 desktop computers combined, experts say. A computation that would take a lifetime for a home PC and that can be completed in about five hours on today’s supercomputers will be doable in as little as two hours.
“The difficulty in building the machines is tremendous, and the amount of power these machines require is pretty mind-boggling,” said Mark Seager, assistant department head for advanced computing technology at Lawrence Livermore. “But the scientific results that we can get out of them are also mind-boggling and worth every penny and every megawatt it takes to build them.”
An interesting read and definitely worth checking out.