If you sit back and think about how far technology has come in the last few decades it is really mind blowing. The technology used to put man on the moon in the 60’s was less powerful than the average smartphone today and yet America still pulled it off. If you have ever looked at your tech and wondered how powerful it really is compared to the computers of yesterday you aren’t alone. Computer scientist Jack Dongarra is one of the folks that is tasked with keeping track of the world’s fastest supercomputers.
Dongarra is a keeper of the Linpack computing benchmark that is used to test the mathematical capability of a computer. He and his research group decided to take the iPad 2 and see how it stacks up against the supercomputers of yesterday. As it turns out the iPad 2 is a rival for a Cary Supercomputer that was the top dogs in processing power back in 1985. The iPad 2 performance rivals that of the Cray 2 supercomputer with eight processors, which was world’s fastest supercomputer in 1985.
The researchers also note that the iPad 2 is ten times faster than the original iPad. To make the iPad 2 performance even more impressive, apparently the researchers were only able to test with one of the iPad’s two processing cores. Dongarra expects that the iPad 2 will end up with a Linpack benchmark of between 1.5 and 1.65 gigaflops. That number would have kept the iPad at the top of the supercomputer performance charts through 1994. That is really impressive.