IBM will build a new supercomputer for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration that uses the Cell Broadband Engine processor, originally designed for electronic gaming. The “hybrid” computer will also use x86 processors from Advanced Micro Devices and will be capable of a sustained speed of up to 1,000 trillion calculations per second, or one petaflop.
Computers used for The latest and greatest for the DOE's Simulation Of Nuclear Warhead Designs.They can't test so they model and simulate every stage of detonation on a super MPP (Massivly Parallel Processor).The models are constantly being refined to reflect new latest thinking on what will happen with each change !
"Techniques for Warhead Design
There are seven broad categories of techniques that can assist in the design of new warheads without full-scale testing:
Nuclear explosions ranging from a few tens of pounds to a few hundred tons of TNT equivalent or less that are not quite full-scale explosions, but which yield most of the crucial information about the functioning of the weapon, other than its exact explosive yield.
Small-scale nuclear explosions with a nuclear yield of a few tens of pounds or less (hydronuclear testing).
Tests of many of the properties of nuclear charges using materials that cannot sustain chain reactions (hydrodynamic testing).
Experiments in nuclear fusion to develop understanding of the thermonuclear component of weapons as well of the deuterium-tritium boosters that make the fission components of warheads more efficient.
Theoretical models and calculations (other than computer models).
Other related experiments, field tests, theoretical work, and modeling exercises, for instance using nuclear reactors, conventional explosives, etc. to determine the properties of various components and subassemblies of warheads. This includes work on basic science in various disciplines such as nuclear physics and radiochemistry.
Codenamed Roadrunner, the new machine will be installed at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory. Designed to conserve space and power consumption, the system will incorporated advanced cooling and power management technology and will occupy 12,000 square feet of floor space, approximately the size of three basketball courts.
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