Petaflops. Something about the word brings a smile to our faces – maybe because it sounds like a vaguely dirty word? But the term refers to processing power rather than a part of the human anatomy. A petaflop computer performs 1,000 trillion operations per second, and the new XK6 supercomputer announced today by Cray promises to scale up to 50 petaflops. Now, math isn't one of our strong points, but we're pretty sure we'd be able to rock a pretty awesome game of Dwarf Fortress on one of those puppies.
According to Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times
, Cray created the mind-blowingly fast GPU-equipped supercomputer by combining AMD x86 processors with Nvidia graphics processors. The Swiss National Supercomputing Center is set to snatch the first one off the assembly line, upgrading its existing XE6M system, which is also produced by Cray. Professor Thomas Schulthess, the director for the Center, said he couldn't wait to get his hands on the machine, calling it "the first general-purpose supercomputer based on GPU technology."
The XK6 will cost between $500,000 and $1 million at launch, depending on the setup.