The iPad in Your Hand: As Fast as a Supercomputer of Yore
Dr. Dongarra, who is on the computer science faculty at the University of Tennessee and a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is one of the keepers of the Linpack computing benchmark, a linear algebra test that measures the mathematical capabilities of computers.
His research group has run the test on Apple’s new iPad 2, and it turns out that the legal-pad-size tablet would be a rival for a four-processor version of the Cray 2 supercomputer, which, with eight processors, was the world’s fastest computer in 1985.
To date, the researchers have run the test on only one of the iPad microprocessor’s two processing cores. When they finish their project, though, Dr. Dongarra estimates that the iPad 2 will have a Linpack benchmark of between 1.5 and 1.65 gigaflops (billions of floating-point, or mathematical, operations per second). That would have insured that the iPad 2 could have stayed on the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers through 1994.