Exaflop computers on the way

29/03/2012

Computers that can perform as many operations per second as 50 million laptops and perform complex simulations are on their way.

They are called 'exaflop' computers: 'exa', meaning quintillion, and flop, for FLoating Operations per Second.

According to Dimitrios Nikolopoulos, professor at the School of Electronics at Queen's University Belfast, they herald the "next frontier for high-performance computing".

In an interview with the news provider CNN, Professor Nikolopoulos said that the number of processors being used in supercomputers will rise substantially to between one million and 100 million.

However, the academic warns that the main barrier to developing exascale machines is power consumption.

"The current projections suggest that power consumption of exascale computers will be 100 megawatts. It's impossible to build a suitable facility and have enough power," he said.

Currently, the fastest computer in the world is Japan's K Computer developed by Fujitsu, which operates at over ten petaflops.