A memory of over 2.6 trillion bytes and a performance of 3.9 trillion calculations per second, these astonishing assets constitute the precious dowry of Blue Pacific, the world's fastest computer. United States Vice President Gore and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson unveiled the new and powerful machine, developed by a team of computer experts from IBM and the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, to break the speed barrier for computing. On the same occasion, the Vice President announced the birth of the Next Generation Internet. President Clinton has signed a bill to establish a high speed connection between more than 100 universities for advanced network applications, such as telemedicine and distance learning.
Blue Pacific will help to build a promising future for the people in the next millennium, according to the Vice President. Over the past half century, innovative technologies have empowered the economy and improved the health and the lives of the citizen. The fastest computer on earth will continue this evolution by furthering the research in the fields of medicine, manufacturing, aviation safety, and global climate change. Blue Pacific is able to operate at 15.000 times the speed of an average desktop personal computer, disposing of 80.000 times more memory. This newcomer could store all the books in the Library of Congress and one single second of Blue Pacific calculation would take 63.000 years for a person using a simple hand calculator.
Not only Blue Pacific will stimulate the economic potential of science and technology in the digital era. The American government is also preparing two new laws, one to protect the copyrights of intellectual property in the digital environment, and another one to create the Next Generation Internet which will exceed the current one a 1.000 times in speed. Since December 1996, two treaties regulate the protection of American copyrighted works from international piracy by means of unequivocal international standards. The bill, recently signed by the President, will extend the implementation of both treaties towards digitally achieved creative products to be used on the information highway. Providers of basic communication services thus will be limited as far as their infringement liability is concerned.
The Next Generation Internet constitutes a federal research and development project for the academic world. The aim is to establish a powerful platform for high quality communications in order to create networks for scientific applications, including innovative concepts like telemedicine and distance learning. The initiative will take the Internet straight into the 21st century. In the past three years, information technology in all its aspects has been accounting for about 30 percent of the growth in the United States' economy and has increased the national output with more than $1.1 trillion. Equally when it comes to financial revenue, the slogan "ever faster, ever higher, ever stronger" seems to be more alive than ever.