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  • Benchmarked iPad 2 Outdoes 80's Supercomputer


    The amount of innovation and technology developments in the last 20 years is astounding. The jump from "PCs" to true personal computers, laptops, powerful mobile phones, and the technology advancements within each category are just a few examples. These major developments are still recurring today and were shaped through tons of research and inventive work that started in the early 1980's.

    An article recently posted in the Bits (Business * Innovation * Technology * Society) blog on the New York Times website brings many of us back to the days of 80s super computers. However, the article does not discuss what the supercomputers of 80's were like - but how a recently benchmarked iPad 2 blows the computing capabilities of these "super" computers out of the water.

    Dr. Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the Unversity of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Labratory, is one of the computer scientists responsible for tracking the world's 500 fastest computers. As a result, he is an operator of the Linpack computing benchmark which tests the mathematical capabilities of computers using a linear algebra test. When he and his team tested the computing capabilities of the iPad 2, it was discovered this small pad-sized device would make a major rival of the Cray 2 supercomputer. The Cray 2 in its day was the fastest computer in the world (1985) and contained eight processors.

    The team also concluded the iPad 2's processing speed is almost 10 times faster than it's predecessor, the iPad. The design of the new processor is most likely the cause for this incredible change.

    Dongarra's team only tested one of the iPad 2's microprocessors. And even from those results, the figures make it a good competitor to the Cray 2 supercomputer. When they have finished conducting research on both microprocessors together, they are speculating the amount of computing power would have allowed the iPad 2 to be the fastest computer in the world all the way until 1994.

    Source(s): Bits - New York Times
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Benchmarked iPad 2 Outdoes 80's Supercomputer started by Joshua Tucker View original post
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. godfred212's Avatar
      godfred212 -
      Yeah outstanding
    1. asmacumber's Avatar
      asmacumber -
      Awesome article. I remember the CRAY computers (Wargames, anyone???) So odd to think this little thing I hold in my hands is more powerful than something so big.

      Good job.
    1. Napoleon_PhoneApart's Avatar
      Napoleon_PhoneApart -
      I remember the chess program Cray Blitz, written by Bob Hyatt, which, along with Belle, was one of the best computer chess competitors of its day.
    1. TheOrioles33's Avatar
      TheOrioles33 -
      Doesnt todays calculators out perform those old computerts?
    1. c1ockwerk's Avatar
      c1ockwerk -
      Quote Originally Posted by asmacumber View Post
      Awesome article. I remember the CRAY computers (Wargames, anyone???) So odd to think this little thing I hold in my hands is more powerful than something so big.

      Good job.
      Wargames was on HBO last night, had to watch it. Its amazing how far technology has come in 20 years.
    1. jordbrett's Avatar
      jordbrett -
      Is anyone really surprised by this? That's like me writing an article saying HD TV from today has better picture than the best set from the 80s. Of course technology grows and changes over time.
    1. tvadakia's Avatar
      tvadakia -
      Quote Originally Posted by jordbrett View Post
      Is anyone really surprised by this? That's like me writing an article saying HD TV from today has better picture than the best set from the 80s. Of course technology grows and changes over time.
      No, no surprise; however, it remains a fantastic indicator of our progress. Besides, your analogy isn't exactly apples-to-apples. Comparing a handheld device that almost anyone can own of today to a fill-the-room, powered-by-its-own-power-plant, only-the-government-can-afford super computer of yesteryear is more like comparing our HDTV of today with a movie (still frame) projector of the 1900's.

      An enjoyable read, and an interesting historical reference.
    1. drscjmm's Avatar
      drscjmm -
      Such an enjoyable read! Now if I could only get my hands on one of those slippery ba*#%rds!!!
    1. Daerid's Avatar
      Daerid -
      I'll grab my flux capacitor, hop in my car and go back to 1985 and AMAZE you'all with my awesome compute powers!


      Or not...

      Fun read tho!
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      I bet back then if you had told them something as small as the iPad 2 would out perform that computer some day they would have just laughed lol.
    1. zplit's Avatar
      zplit -
      Quote Originally Posted by c1ockwerk View Post
      Wargames was on HBO last night, had to watch it. Its amazing how far technology has come in 20 years.
      +1 I was watching wargames last night on HBO
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      In PC world there is no top of the line because a better one comes out as soon as it gets to your hands, so I am surprised we are actually progressing so slowly.

      BTW you guys can probably watch Wargames on HBO Go.
    1. Spaceman1701's Avatar
      Spaceman1701 -
      excellent article. Makes you think how far technology has come in such a short time. I wonder how the Ipad1 compares. I finally got my hands on a brand new Ipad1 and should be in today, WOOT!!!
      Thanks
    1. steeda763's Avatar
      steeda763 -
      I'm still amazed at the portability of technology in general, such as the ability to fit the entire NES, SNES, Genesis, and N64 game libraries, plus a few movies and a season of Lost onto a phone. All that media alone would have occupied an entire bedroom back in the 90s. Not 10 years ago people were going nuts over monochrome phones that had Snake on them.
    1. Delerowen's Avatar
      Delerowen -
      Quote Originally Posted by steeda763 View Post
      I'm still amazed at the portability of technology in general, such as the ability to fit the entire NES, SNES, Genesis, and N64 game libraries, plus a few movies and a season of Lost onto a phone. All that media alone would have occupied an entire bedroom back in the 90s. Not 10 years ago people were going nuts over monochrome phones that had Snake on them.
      Dude Snake will and always be the greatest game on any mobile device.
    1. shigh's Avatar
      shigh -
      Quote Originally Posted by Delerowen View Post
      Dude Snake will and always be the greatest game on any mobile device.
      word.
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      In in 20 years the tech then will be better than today.
    1. MCN's Avatar
      MCN -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheOrioles33 View Post
      Doesnt todays calculators out perform those old computerts?

      Exactly what I was thinking...We're talking 30 years ago! That's why if i have $700 to invest I'd rather purchase a Laptop! Might not be a macbook or anything, but we're talking 500GB's of storage, better processor, DVD Player, maybe even Blue Ray..Four Gb's of RAM, 15 in screen, WiFi capable, six USB ports, Firewire, SD reader, built in web cam...and doesn't need to be JAILBROKEN! Sure some have good uses for it, but iPad doesn't fit my needs.

      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      In PC world there is no top of the line because a better one comes out as soon as it gets to your hands, so I am surprised we are actually progressing so slowly.

      BTW you guys can probably watch Wargames on HBO Go.
      We're not progressing as slowly as we are made to think..The thing is there is plenty of money to be made on the in between products. My friends dad worked for Siemens back in the early 90's, and I remember him telling us how they were already working on TV's that lay flat on a table and display 4-D holographic images. 20+ years later we're just hitting flat screen 3-D TV's that still hang on the wall.
    1. defiantmacho's Avatar
      defiantmacho -
      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      I bet back then if you had told them something as small as the iPad 2 would out perform that computer some day they would have just laughed lol.
      Just like we laugh now at the prospect of colonizing other planets... There was a time when it was believed the earth was flat. To say the contrary was heresy. Then we learned it was round but believed it was the center of the universe, etc. So yes, they would've laughed, and quite hard.
    1. SoCal Railroader's Avatar
      SoCal Railroader -
      I don't think younger kids can truly appreciate how far tech has come in the past 40 years, I'm 39 myself (40 in November), and it constantly amazes me at what these tiny devices are capable of.

      Quote Originally Posted by Delerowen View Post
      Dude Snake will and always be the greatest game on any mobile device.
      I remember seeing an ad for the Nokia 5100 series back in 1997 when I was working for U.S. Cellular here in the Ukiah, CA area, part of the ad showed the games (including Snake) on it I and said "WOW, a phone with games, can you believe it? So cool!"