This is a really significant milestone and is a tribute to the many staff across STFC who have firstly helped secure the necessary government and industrial investment and secondly turned this money into a functioning world class system.
IBM have recently completed tests on Blue Gene that put a heavy load on the systems and ran for over 7 hours with a sustained performance of around 1.2 PetaFlops. This is the first time that a Petaflop application has been run in the UK and therefore is a groundbreaking achievement. The first TeraFlop system in the UK was the IBM Power3 based system at AWE in June 2002 and so this milestone represents a thousand fold increase in performance in 10 years. To put this in context, a Petaflop is one thousand trillion calculations per second!