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How Many iPads Does it Take to Equal a Supercomputer?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by sparkyscott21, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    Royal Pingdom published an interesting bit of trivia, “How Many iPads Would it Take to Equal the World’s Fastest Supercomputer?” We’re not going to say it’s a lot, but you might need a bigger truck!


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    When you’re discussing supercomputers, everything is about flops, (floating-point operations per second). Basically: “How many calculations can this computer perform in one second?”

    Royal Pingdom provides the following frame of reference:

    Currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, as ranked by the Top500 list, is the K Computer built by Fujitsu in Japan. It has almost 90,000 SPARC64 VIIIfx processors with over 640,000 cores capable of more than 10.51 petaflops (10,510,000,000,000,000 flops).
    [...]
    Many of you have Apple’s latest iPad 2, which has a powerful A5 processor inside. It’s dual-core and runs at 1GHz clock speed. The A5 processor reaches 170.9 megaflops. It’s more than enough to run most iPad apps and games but as you can see it trails behind…the K Computer.

    The comparisons are:

    A5 Processor in the iPad 2: 171 megaflops

    Intel Core i7 980 EX: 109,000 megaflops

    K Computer: 10,510,000,000 megaflops

    Then, we would need 61,461,988 (61 million!) iPad 2s to match the processing prowess of the K Computer.

    That makes a pile of iPad 2 units about 540 km high. Royal Pingdom notes that’s the equivalent of almost 1,700 Eiffel Towers or around 650 Burj Khalifa, stacked on top of each other.

    OK, you’ve got the entire weekend to ensure Royal Pingdom was correct in their calculations. So, grab your gold card, get in your truck, and go down to your local Apple Store. 61,461,988 iPad 2s are a big order, but I’m sure the friendly Apple Specialists there will be more than happy to help you carry them out to the truck…
    11-19-11​
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