New Supercomputer Will Predict the Future

Well, technically speaking, most supercomputers are designed to predict the future. This one will just do it better than others. That's because it's more powerful than all the others-combined. That's right, IBM's new Sequoia supercomputer will have more processing power than every other system on the Top500 (an unofficial list of the fastest computers in the world, generally regarded as definitive ), even if you found a way to combine them all.How much more? Well, the top entry on the list currently maxes out at 1.1 petaflops; Sequoia outputs 20 petaflops. The helpful engineers behind the project have put that in perspective: "If each of the 6.7 billion people on earth had a hand calculator and worked together on a calculation 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, it would take 320 years to do what Sequoia will do in one hour." More practically, a machine with that kind of processing power will be able to predict earthquakes and the specific affects on individual buildings with startling accuracy, as well as more detailed weather forecasting capable of predicting localized weather events on the scale of one kilometer (the previous threshold was ten). Hence, the aforementioned ability to predict the future. But what will it actually be used for? Nuclear weapons analysis. Sigh.Photo of a previous IBM supercomputer-Blue Gene-which is currently the fourth fastest computer listed on the Top500. Courtesy of Via Gizmodo.