MTOPS, make that TTO Per Second
06/09/2001 6:02:50 AM MDT Albuquerque, Nm
By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO
It used to be Million Theoretical Operations per second, now it's Trillion.
In a report released Friday, and to be presented at a Capital Hill news conference, former military officials have determined our US export laws need to be reworked.
The report says Computing power dwarfing that used to build the most advanced weapons is now available to foes of the United States, making computer-hardware export controls a waste of time, a panel of senior national security figures has concluded.
The report released by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says standard laptops typically now outpower the vaunted supercomputers of 10 years ago.
The study urges the United States to scrap its 1990s-vintage export-control laws, based on the millions of theoretical operations per second, or MTOPS, carried out by a computer's microprocessor brain. This MTOPS is now TTOPS.
The XBOX video game system, after I crunched some numbers is more than capable of 3,000 MTOPS or 3 Billion TOPS combined with it's Pentium 3 733Mhz chip and it's NVidia Graphics processing unit. This is only 997 shy of a Trillion, but not bad at all for a computer designed to play games.
This is in comparison to what has been a long forgotten insult from the Japanese government towards America where they limited the export of their Playstation 2 systems claiming they were powerful enough to build Cruise Missles, BTW we (the US) invented the cruise missle. That fact hasn't been reported 1/10 as much as the claim that the cause of the PS2 shortages in the US were manufacturing difficulties and a lack of semiconductor parts. Of course CNN did carry the Japanese comments on why they would be limiting the export of the PS2 to the US live about a year ago during the PS2 Launch in Japan, but few remember this. The reporting of part shortages and manufacturing difficulties has been taken as the fact for the PS2 shortage in the US, but the real fact is Japan limited it's export to the US for "military reasons".
In comparison with the XBOX, and the Japanese built PS2 (capable of only a near 500 MTOPS), the Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-22, the most advanced U.S. fighter, was designed on a 958 MTOPS Cray supercomputer, with roughly one-quarter of the power packed in mass-produced Pentium chips, according to the report.
The report is based on the findings of a 28-member bipartisan commission co-chaired by two former CIA directors, James Schlesinger and R. James Woolsey, and two former senior Pentagon officials, Joseph Nye and retired Adm. William Owens.
"The problem is that the supercomputer of 1990 -- a computer then manufactured only in the dozens of units -- had by the year 2000 become the laptop manufactured in the hundreds of thousands," it says.
To illustrate the huge surge in computing power, the report says that the U.S. Navy's $80 million EP-3E surveillance aircraft -- the type involved in a midair collision off China's coast on April 1 -- has workstations running at 24O MTOPS.
Today the term "supercomputer" doesn't necessarily mean a big tower computer from floor to ceiling, but means several hundred, or thousand of smaller computers all working towards the same goal. A good example of this is SETI, where hundreds of computers analyze radio signals from the Aericebo Satellite in US Territory Puerto Rico. SETI @ Home links thousands of other "home computers" to download and analyze data using their processing power creating another example of a super computer of today.
A key goal of the Cold War's multilateral export control system was to prevent the Soviet Union from using Western-made computers for battle-management purposes such as air defense, anti-submarine warfare and the processing of satellite data.
There is no convincing strategic or nonproliferation rationale for continued control because there is little consensus between the United States and its allies on potential threats, the report said.
I'll follow this report, and it's implications closely...with some good coverage you may see this on CNN - just don't forget what you saw/heard.
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