Earth Simulator System

essFrom an NEC press release:

NEC Corporation today announced the completion of its delivery of the ultra high-speed vector parallel computing system known as “the Earth Simulator,” to the Earth Simulator Center. The system is slated to begin operation on March 11, 2002.
The Earth Simulator was developed by the Earth Simulator Research and Development Center, which is a collaborative organization of the National Space Development Agency of Japan , Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, and Japan Marine Science and Technology Center.

The Earth Simulator system was installed in the simulator building at Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences (Yokohama, Kanagawa). This is the world’s fastest supercomputer configured with 640 nodes (64GFLOPS/node, 5,120 CPUs in total), each of which consists of eight vector processors (8GFLOPS/CPU), and achieves the peak performance of 40TFLOPS (40 trillion floating-point operations per second).

The Earth Simulator will create a “virtual planet earth” on the computer by its capability of processing vast volume of data sent from satellites, buoys and other worldwide observation point. The system will contribute to analyze and predict environmental changes on the earth through the simulation of various global scale environmental phenomena such as global warming, El Nino effect, atmospheric and marine pollution, torrential rainfall and other complicated environmental effects. It will also provide an outstanding research tool in explaining terrestrial phenomena such as tectonics and earthquakes.

IBM knocked NEC off the pedestal for fastest supercomputer in 2004 with the Blue Gene/L.

NEC Technologies

necOne of the world’s largest computer and electronics manufacturers. NEC Technologies is the second largest producers of semiconductors behind Intel, and its line of monitors has set the standard for many years. It also produces PCs and notebook computers, and controls half the PC market in Japan.

Quantum Computing

quantum“Quantum computing begins where Moore’s Law ends — about the year 2020, when circuit features are predicted to be the size of atoms and molecules,” says Isaac L. Chuang, who led the team of scientists from IBM Research, Stanford University and the University of Calgary. “Indeed, the basic elements of quantum computers are atoms and molecules.”

Quantum computers get their power by taking advantage of certain quantum physics properties of atoms or nuclei that allow them to work together as quantum bits, or “qubits,” to be the computer’s processor and memory. By interacting with each other while being isolated from the external environment, theorists have predicted — and this new result confirms — that qubits could perform certain calculations exponentially faster than conventional computers.