World's fastest supercomputer models the unseen universe

It's hard to tell what the universe looks like, especially since it takes billions of years for the light from most of it to reach us. It's even more difficult to visualize the 70% of the matter in the universe that's invisible.

That's why scientists bring out the heavy iron, IBM Roadrunner, the world's fastest supercomputer, to simulate crazy stuff like dark energy and dark matter for us. It's crunching through data simulating galaxies full of trillions of stars at a sustained speed of faster than one petaflop, or 1 quadrillion calculations per second.

The remarkable power of Roadrunner pushes computational throughput beyond anything ever used before by three orders of magnitude, according to scientists working on the Roadrunner Universe Model. The result is the best look we've ever had at the origins of the mysterious unseen universe. The images will get better — there's a 20-petaflop computer coming in 2012.

Via HPC Wire