### From Cosmic Bubble to Super Computing

In RCW79 we learned about a cosmic bubble (RCW79) that has a diameter of approximately `70 light-years`. We computed this to be about `411.6 trillion miles`.

```   411.60 trillion is 411,600,000,000,000

411,600,000,000,000 is 411.6 x 1012
```

The 07 April 2005 posting to the GDT::Blog:: Grid Utilitarian was about the IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory hitting a processing speed of `135.3 trillion flops`.

A flop is a floating-point operation. In a nutshell, a flop is an arithmetic operation where one of the operands is a decimal number where at least one digit to the right of the decimal point is not zero). Flops are the number of floating-point operations per second.

Let's compare RCS79 with BlueGene/L by dropping the units of measurements and looking only at the numbers.

```   cosmic bubble:  411.6 trillion = 411,600,000,000,000
supercomputer:  135.3 trillion = 135,300,000,000,000
```

With respect to the supercomputer, it does `135.3 trillion` calculations per second. It sort of begs of the question... how many calculations can it do in a day?

```   given:  86400 seconds per day

135.3 x 86400 = 11,689,920
```

The IBM BlueGene/L supercomputer can do `11,689,920 trillion` calculations in a day.

```   11,689,920 trillion = 11,689,920,000,000,000,000

supercomputer:  11,689,920,000,000,000,000
cosmic bubble:         411,600,000,000,000

11,689,920,000,000,000,000 = 11.68992 quintillion.

11.68992 quintillion = 11.68992 x 1018
```

There are concerns that computer processing speeds will be limited because of the speed of light. Some researchers are trying to "slow down" the speed of light.

The IBM Blue Gene/L at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is still being built. When completed, it may be able to do ```360 trillion flops```.

Wikipedia.org:: High performance computing

Creator: Gerald D. Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Created: 16 April 2005 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.