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Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Europe's Most Powerful Computer Unveiled in Germany


The most powerful computer in Europe, 15,000 times faster than the average home PC, was unveiled at a German research centre.

The version of the IBM-built Blue Gene machine at the Juelich Research Centre has managed processing speeds of 46 teraflops, equivalent to 46 trillion operations a second.

The supercomputer will allow physicians, chemists, biologists and medical researchers to make highly complex calculations.

IBM says possible applications are forecasting the weather or predicting the movements of stock markets.

"It is a terrific tool for scientific programmes which require immense calculating power," said Peter Schaefer, from the centre, which is situated near to the western German cities of Aachen and Cologne.

Schaefer heads a committee which will decide which projects can use the computer at the centre, which is the biggest facility of its kind in Europe.

Ninety percent of the funding came from the German federal state, with the remaining 10 percent contributed by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where Juelich is situated.

According to the www.top500.org website, which provides a ranking of supercomputers, the Juelich-based machine beats the current holder of the most powerful computer in Europe, a machine in Barcelona.

However, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) claims it has the most powerful machine in Europe, a 50-teraflop machine built by Bull which has recently been installed.

The www.top500.org list is to be updated in June.

The world's most powerful computer is a more advanced version of the Blue Gene, based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy laboratory in California. It is capable of 367 teraflops a second.


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