With the final Top-500 Supercomputer rankings to be released on Sunday, The New York Times reports that IBM has built a dishwasher-sized prototype computer with 512 PowerPC 440 processors that ranks 73rd in the world.
The computer is part of an ongoing project to build a a new supercomputer for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. This project is targeted to be completed by 2005 and the resulting computer is expected to have 128 times the power of the current prototype (1.4 TFlops), which would bring it close to 180 TFlops. The current fastest supercomputer performs at 35.8 TFlops.
Livermore currently holds the #3 spot, but this position is expected to be taken by the Virginia Tech PowerMac G5 Cluster in the upcoming rankings.
The PowerPC 440 is designed for embedded systems and allows IBM's new supercomputer to achieve a high density of processors. While the chip is a member of the PowerPC family, the processor has no specific relationship to Apple Computer.