Blue Gene

Blue Gene is a supercomputer development project at IBM for a series of high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) arcitectures with minimal power demands. The series includes Blue Gene/L, Cyclops64, (formerly Blue Gene/C), Blue Gene/P and Blue Gene/Q.

Blue Gene is a supercomputer development project at IBM for a series of high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) arcitectures with minimal power demands. The series includes Blue Gene/L, Cyclops64, (formerly Blue Gene/C), Blue Gene/P and Blue Gene/Q.

Blue Gene/L, which runs on Linux, employs thousands of processors, each of which demands minimal electric current. Because Blue Gene/L dissipates relatively little energy as heat in proportion to its computational power, it is sometimes called "Frost." The Blue Gene/L architecture uses two processors on a chip. For example, 1024 Blue Gene nodes (2048 processors) can be configured in a single rack, demanding approximately 25 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. The fact that a large number of processors can be put into a small space translates into scalability as well as compactness. In proportion to its physical size, Blue Gene exhibits unprecedented computing speed.

Cyclops64 is in development as the first supercomputer-on-a-chip architecture. IBM is developing Cyclops64 in collaboration with United States Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and academic and industry partners. Blue Gene/P, unveiled in 2007, was designed to run continuously at 1 petaflop with peak speed of 3 petaflops and to be, at the same time, seven times as energy efficient as any other supercomputer. Blue Gene/Q, in development, is expected to reach 20 petaflops.

Potential applications of the Blue Gene series include the simulation of complex processes and phenomena such as space flight, wildfire behavior, cloud formation, storm evolution, and the effects of human activity on the earth's climate.

This was first published in March 2010

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