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IBM plans its latest smash hit

点击量:   时间:2019-03-07 02:05:06

By Jeff Hecht A “SELF-HEALING” supercomputer running 500 times faster than any other could help unravel the molecular secrets of disease, say computer scientists at IBM. The company is spending $100 million to develop Blue Gene, a novel computer which operates under rules described as “simple, many and self-healing”—SMASH for short. The task is to model the folding of proteins, which could ultimately aid drug design and help in the understanding of biochemical defects. Blue Gene’s SMASH protocol will organise a million simple processors on the “self-healing” principle, allowing adjacent processors to monitor each other’s operations, and shut down faulty components as the need arises. If several restarts fail to cure the problem, IBM vice-president Ambuj Goyal says the component will be “ostracised”, while other processors will replace its function. Self-healing has long been a holy grail for computer designers. In the 1980s, researchers tried and failed to build complete computers on silicon wafers using a technique called wafer scale integration, in which faulty areas would be ignored by advanced “self-organising,