Blue Gene, Progeny of IBM’s Chess Champ, Deep Blue, Becomes an Engine of Scientific Discovery
Ten years ago today, IBM’s Deep Blue (NYSE: IBM) became the first computer to win a chess tournament against a reigning world champion chess master.
Deep Blue had 32 processors and could process about 200 million chess moves per second in its historic six-game match against Garry Kasparov. Ten years later, Blue Gene, the fastest supercomputer in the world and the descendent of Deep Blue, uses 131,000 processors to routinely handle 280 trillion operations every second. A single scientist with a calculator would have to work non-stop for 177,000 years to perform the operations that Blue Gene can do in one second.
The Cell Broadband Engine, a modern videogame chip, may be more powerful than Deep Blue, but the computer science theories pioneered by Deep Blue (performing millions of calculations simultaneously or “in parallel”) are the foundation of Blue Gene, and foreshadowed today’s “multicore” chip designs. Blue Gene is at work in science, academia and government labs probing the invisible and providing new insight into: life sciences (protein folding, genetic research; brain research); hydrodynamics; quantum chemistry; astronomy and space research; materials science; and climate modeling.
Today, Blue Gene systems rank as the No.1 and No.3 fastest supercomputers in the world on the Top 500 list. There are ten Blue Gene systems in the Top 50, including the world’s fastest supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. There are currently 15 Blue Gene installations in the U.S. Other Blue Gene installations can be found in Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, France and in the U.K.
Blue Gene is World’s Most Energy Efficient Computer
According to green500.org, Blue Gene is the world’s most energy-efficient computer. In 1999, at the beginning of the Blue Gene project, IBM realized that future supercomputers would be constrained by power and space requirements. Blue Gene was specifically designed to deliver the most performance per kilowatt of power consumed.
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