*TFLOPS is the actual teraflops from the software cores, not the peak values from CPU/GPU/PS3 specs. Please see our main FAQ, FLOPS FAQ, PS3 FAQ, NVIDIA GPU FAQ, or ATI GPU FAQ for more details on specific platforms. Active means those that have returned within 10-50 days depending upon the type of processor.
Folding@home the largest distributed computing effort has 8.3 petaflops of computing power in active utilization.
This effort represents one of the larger current "World Computers" -400,000 active for folding@home, 30,000 GPGPUs provide 68% of the processing and 36,600 Playstations 3 represent 25% of the rest of the processing power.
The number of machines with GPGPU co-processing or that will have cell processors will increase as a percentage.
AMD Fusion which combines standard processors with a GPGPU is currently expected inthe second half of 2011.
Intel Larrabee chip is expected for 2010 and should have 1-2 teraflops of performance.
The Nvidia and AMD GPGPUs will be shifting to 40 nm processes (in 2009) and then to 32 nm (2010-2011). The new chips faster and more energy efficient. Nvidia has taped out 40nm GPGPUs
Participation continues to grow and if by 2011 almost all of about 1 million active participating computers had 1 teraflops of performance then the combined power would be 1 exaflop.
There are 100 million GPGPU from NVidia.
The power of GPGPU. The same processing power in ten times less space.
There are over 1 billion personal computers and annual sales are about 300-400 million worldwide each year.
Conflicker is a computer virus that infected 12 million computers and something like it could theoretically utilize the computing power of those millions of infected computers. A World operating system would need to be able dynamically bring in computers like such software but in a well behaved way that also dynamically releases resources according to the settings and wishes of the computer owner.
Cloud computing provides a platform for running scalable applications on large grids of computers, but not all applications are suitable to run on cloud computers.
Cloud computing will likely evolve to become a more flexible, powerful and stable global scale operating systems.
Cloud computing technical discussion "cloud server operating system is a stripped down version of standard installations without a need for direct hard drive interfaces or other peripherals."
VMWare has a vision for enabling data and IT centers to enable cloud functionality.
There is a discussion of the own nothing cloud - public clouds and private clouds at CNET.
Well behaved global operating systems would have the security and reliability to allow computers to cleanly move in and out of different clouds and for each system to be cleanly and dynamically partitioned.
By 2015-2020, such World computing systems could have as many as a billion or so computing devices in participation at various points. The 2015 system could have zettaflops under its command.