IBM Supercomputer

Computer boasting from IBM

IBM is claiming unofficial bragging rights as owner of the world's fastest supercomputer. IBM says its still-unfinished "BlueGene System" can sustain speeds of 36 teraflops. For the uninitiated, a teraflop is one trillion calculations per second. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory says it plans to install the system next year with 130-thousand processors and 64 racks -- half a tennis court in size. The labs will use it for modeling the behavior and aging of high explosives, as well as for astrophysics, cosmology and basic science.

While IBM's speed sets a new benchmark, the official list of the world's fastest supercomputers will not be released until November. For three years running, the fastest supercomputer has been NEC's Earth Simulator in Japan.