Iowa State University will take delivery is a partner with NCSA & IBM* in the development of Blue Waters – the world’s first supercomputer to be able to sustain 1 petaflop – in 2011. (source: FoxNews). IBM says Blue Waters will have a peak performance of 10 petaflops. (source: Wikipedia)

Blue Waters, an implementation of PERCS technology, is planned to be composed of:
– more than 25,000 eight-core POWER7 CPUs with 32MB on-die L3 cache running at 4.0 GHz (200,000 cores)
– more than 1 petabyte of main memory
– more than 10 petabytes of disk storage
– half an exabyte of archival storage
– up to 400 Gbit/s external (Internet) connectivity

Why is this important?

Well, according to Ray Kurzweil (listen to 2005 my interview with him here), the human brain probably has a computational level of 20 petaflops. (source: The Enlightened Blog)

And we all know that Moore’s Law says that theoretical computing speeds double every 2 years. That means we should have a supercomputer doing 20 petaflops by 2013.

Take THAT, stupid Mayans.

* The first draft of this post said Iowa State was “taking deliver” of Blue Waters. My thanks to Trish Barker from National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) for sending me an email pointing out that “while Iowa State is a partner on the project and scientists from Iowa State will use the supercomputer to do big science, the supercomputer will be here at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign”.

She also gave me these additional links:

The hardware:
The building: