The Top500 ranking of supercomputers today recognized the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sequoia as the fastest computer in the world. The computer, an IBM Blue Gene/Q, was designed to be extremely energy efficient. Like previous Blue Gene machines, it’s powered by low frequency and low power embedded PowerPC cores–in this case, an astonishing 1.6 million of them. Sequoia produces 16 petaflops of computation muscle. That’s 16 quadrillion operations per second. It’s an important stepping stone on the way to exascale computing–machines that will be 50 times as fast as today’s fastest.
Read a related post on the IBM Research blog.
When IBM unveiled its Smarter Planet agenda in late 2008, government and business leaders in Poland were intrigued, but the global financial crisis made it difficult for them to act on their positive impulses. Today, in spite of lingering concerns about the situation in Western Europe, the Smarter Planet concepts are starting to gain traction–especially with government leaders.
The Polish central government is launching an e-health initiative, a new citizen ID program and a new electronic tax filing system. “Smart is all about how to make the citizen’s life easier, safer and more ecologically sustainable,” says Anna Sienko, IBM’s general manager for Poland and the Baltic countries.
Poland is one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe right now, and business and government leaders are determined to stimulate growth through innovation. ICM, a research institute affiliated with the University of Warsaw, does its own research in everything from weather prediction to quantum computing but also provides computational power for other researchers throughout Poland. Here’s how ICM works:
By Andras Szakal
IBM US Federal CTO
A smarter government is more agile, more able to effectively respond to changing government needs and citizen dynamics. One of the best ways to improve the way our government works – both its operational efficiency as well as the services it provides to citizens – is through cloud computing.
Yesterday I participated in the Congressional High-Tech Caucus Cloud Task Force’s “Cloud Computing: A Primer” in Washington, DC as part of an industry panel which tackled issues critical to cloud utilization. The event was designed to help our legislators understand how to optimize IT and lower costs, reducing government waste. I was excited to be able to take this message to Congress, and appreciated the opportunity to join Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), co-chairs of the High Tech Caucus.
As citizens, there is a lot of reason to be excited about the promise of cloud computing to help our government operate more efficiently. We like to feel that our tax dollars are hard at work, and that maximum value is being squeezed out of every penny. Rapidly evolving advancements in cloud technologies in such areas as resource pooling, virtualization and operational automation must be considered to help transform and consolidate government data centers to ensure more effective use of resources and lower operational costs.
By Dr. John E. Kelly III
IBM Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research
When I was a child, my father worked at General Electric’s research lab in Niskayuna, N.Y. I would visit and watch him tinker with vacuum tubes—light bulb-like devices that were used to direct electrical current in all sorts of gizmos, from radios and TVs to radar and computers. At the time, I didn’t fully understand what he was doing, but those visits inspired me to study science and, ultimately, to get degrees in physics and materials engineering.
I later came to understand that I had witnessed one of the great transitions in the history of technology. While my dad was showing me vacuum tubes, other engineers at GE’s lab were experimenting with the vacuum tube’s successor, the transistor, which ultimately ushered in modern electronics and personal computing. Those core technologies enabled computers that could be programmed to perform a wide variety of tasks.
Today, we are at the dawn of another epochal shift in the evolution of technology. At IBM Research, we call it the era of cognitive systems.
This is a big deal. The changes that are coming over the next 10 to 20 years—building on IBM’s Watson technology–will transform the way we live, work and learn, just as programmable computing has transformed the human landscape over the past 60+ years. You could even call this the post-computing era.
(We’ll discuss these issues on Twitter today from 4-5 p.m. ET. Join me (@angelluisdiaz) and Rackspace leaders by tagging your tweets with the hashtag #cloudchat (Twebevent makes it easy to participate). Feel free to send us your questions and comments using the hashtag.)
By Angel Diaz
Vice-president, IBM Software Standards
Cloud computing is changing the way we think about technology, and it’s no passing fad. Whether it’s consumers using the cloud to store music, startups turning to cloud to get up and running without huge investments, or big businesses and governments relying on clouds to make more data more accessible, cloud computing is changing how business and society runs, and opening up huge avenues of innovation.
Yet, as promising as cloud computing is, one of the biggest hurdles to widespread adoption is a lack of open standards.
For decades, info tech companies and their customers have been wrestling with one of the seemingly inescapable facts of the computing era: computing systems are designed to be either simple or flexible; but not both. It’s one of the central dilemmas of enterprise computing.
The solution to this problem has been a long time coming, but we’re now on the cusp of a new era when we’ll provide simplicity and flexibility in a single system. One approach is a concept we call expert integrated systems.