Wednesday, January 26, 2005

You can be quite slow . . . and still be The Fastest

Check out this piece on speed in Popular Science.

The fastest tectonic plate only travels .00000000709 mph and the fastest plant, bamboo, only moves .0000237 mph. Here's some faster stats on two of my favorite topics, cycling and computing.

81 mph
Sam Whittingham: World’s fastest self-propelled man
The self-propelled land-speed record was set in October 2002, when Canadian Sam Whittingham reached 81 mph inside a bullet-shaped recumbent bicycle on a flat course in Battle Mountain, Nevada. Whittingham’s victory was attributed to his low body weight and particularly low-riding bike.

World’s Fastest Supercomputer
Every person on Earth would need to perform 100,000 calculations a second in order to equal the power of IBM’s Blue Gene, which posted a new record speed last November. Since 1976, when the original supercomputer, the Cray-1, debuted, supercomputer speed has increased by a factor of 450,000. When fully complete this June, Blue Gene’s projected speed will be almost five million times that of the Cray-1.

Blue Gene’s power—achieved by 131,072 IBM PowerPC 440 processors—is already twice as great as the previous record set just last May.

There are more interesting stats in their 4 page article, so check it out for yourself.

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