TSGS Cruiser Blog

Sunday, May 13, 2012



Don Counts sent me an article "This supercomputer is rethinking the future of software"
By Nick Heath at TechRepublic published on April 18, 2012 with some really cool stuff in it.

      Supercomputers will soon be one thousand times more powerful than
      they are today, and the UK has enlisted an IBM Blue Gene/Q to help develop
      software for the machines.

      Five years from now supercomputers will be able to carry out more than one 
billion billion calculations per second and such blistering speed will require an
overhaul of how we write software.
WOW, right?

This article uses the term "Flops."  So, what is a flop?  
Flops stands for floating point operations per second, and, is a measure of a computer's performance, especially in fields of scientific calculations that make heavy use of floating-point calculations.  And a flop count is a count of these operations per second... just some everyday basic stuff.  There are the same common prefixes that we have grown so fond of (and pretend that we comprehend the values), such as Kilo, Mega, Giga & Tera that we put with the suffix "bytes" as in Kilobytes, Megabytes, Gigabytes & Terabytes... pretty much "old hat!"   It is so "yesterday!"  But, now, we can soon be speaking in terms of Kiloflops (1,000 flops), Megaflops (one million flops), Gigaflops (one billion flops) & Teraflops (one trillion flops).  Truthfully, I do not care what you are talking about "one trillion" is a lot!  But, we do not stop at such small numbers, let us add these: Petaflops (one quadrillion flops), Exaflops (one quintillion flops), Zettaflops (one sextillion flops) & finally, Yottaflops (one septillion flops).  Folks a "septillion" looks like this ~ 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that is a "1" with 24 zeros behind it!!!).  That string of numbers might as well be a zillion or more to me.  I suddenly realized that I do not know how much is a "zillion?"  Well, I found out that there is no such number except it is used to express very large unknown numbers, such as:  "There must have been a zillion ants on the counter!"  Ok, then, are there any numbers larger than "septillion?"  Of course there are several larger groups: Octillion, Nonillion, & Decillion!

Just remember that for most of you this will be the first you will hear of these supercomputers of the very near future that can do more than a billion billion calculations per second!  You will be the first in your family to know what a Petaflop or Yottaflop means!  Here is the link to Nick Heath's blog: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/european-technology/this-supercomputer-is-rethinking-the-future-of-software/489?tag=content;siu-container to read his article.

- Compiled by JGWest



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