Military Supercomputer Sets Record

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Virgil, Jun 9, 2008.

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  1. Military Supercomputer Sets Record

    All well and good, but I'll be impressed when they can finally create a virtual world indistinguishable from this one where I am king of an army of Scandinavian women. Priorities.

    Excerpt:

    June 9, 2008
    Military Supercomputer Sets Record
    By JOHN MARKOFF

    SAN FRANCISCO — An American military supercomputer, assembled from components originally designed for video game machines, has reached a long-sought-after computing milestone by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second.

    The new machine is more than twice as fast as the previous fastest supercomputer, the I.B.M. BlueGene/L, which is based at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

    The new $133 million supercomputer, called Roadrunner in a reference to the state bird of New Mexico, was devised and built by engineers and scientists at I.B.M. and Los Alamos National Laboratory, based in Los Alamos, N.M. It will be used principally to solve classified military problems to ensure that the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons will continue to work correctly as they age. The Roadrunner will simulate the behavior of the weapons in the first fraction of a second during an explosion.

    Before it is placed in a classified environment, it will also be used to explore scientific problems like climate change. The greater speed of the Roadrunner will make it possible for scientists to test global climate models with higher accuracy.

    To put the performance of the machine in perspective, Thomas P. D’Agostino, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that if all six billion people on earth used hand calculators and performed calculations 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it would take them 46 years to do what the Roadrunner can in one day.

    The machine is an unusual blend of chips used in consumer products and advanced parallel computing technologies. The lessons that computer scientists learn by making it calculate even faster are seen as essential to the future of both personal and mobile consumer computing.

    The high-performance computing goal, known as a petaflop — one thousand trillion calculations per second — has long been viewed as a crucial milestone by military, technical and scientific organizations in the United States, as well as a growing group including Japan, China and the European Union. All view supercomputing technology as a symbol of national economic competitiveness.

    By running programs that find a solution in hours or even less time — compared with as long as three months on older generations of computers — petaflop machines like Roadrunner have the potential to fundamentally alter science and engineering, supercomputer experts say. Researchers can ask questions and receive answers virtually interactively and can perform experiments that would previously have been impractical.

    “This is equivalent to the four-minute mile of supercomputing,” said Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee who for several decades has tracked the performance of the fastest computers.

    Each new supercomputing generation has brought scientists a step closer to faithfully simulating physical reality. It has also produced software and hardware technologies that have rapidly spilled out into the rest of the computer industry for consumer and business products.

    Technology is flowing in the opposite direction as well. Consumer-oriented computing began dominating research and development spending on technology shortly after the cold war ended in the late 1980s, and that trend is evident in the design of the world’s fastest computers.

    Cont'd at LINK
     
  2. Impressive. Although if the government over here tried to introduce a military supercomputer like that over here it'd be six years late, cost five times as much as originally quoted and only do half what was asked for. It would then be hailed as a giant success at IT intergration before completely imploding when people tried to use it. Can just imagine JPA on this, 'Yes now we can bugger up even more people's pay in only half the time!'. :)
     
  3. Damn

    when I saw the title I thought, rather foolishly I know, that they had fixed JPA!
     
  4. sad thing is with the speed of changes in computer technology, this will only be worth about $70 in 4 years time and your mobile phone will be faster ;)

    This line worries me a bit:

    "Before it is placed in a classified environment" Do they mean under a mountain somewhere?!
     
  5. No, they mean an advertisment in the local newspaper. :D
     
  6. Most probably. You can't be too careful, what with a hormonally challenged middle aged woman, a precocious male teen and a hot as hell combat humanoid banging about the place.
     
  7. I like a man who knows what is important and completely disregards them for the satisfaction of his most base needs.
     
  8. Can it get me a password for ladyboycrackheads.com? If it can the i'll be impressed
     
  9. I like a man who knows what is important and completely disregards them for the satisfaction of his most base needs.
     
  10. EDIT. double post i'll blame it on the new changes for the website :D
     
  11. I like a man who knows what is important and completely disregards them for the satisfaction of his most base needs.
     
  12. I like a man who knows what is important and completely disregards them for the satisfaction of his most base needs.
     
  13. Twice the time, surely? :?
     
  14. SAN FRANCISCO — An American military supercomputer, assembled from components originally designed for video game machines, has reached a long-sought-after computing milestone by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second.

    My bold - Coincidently there was a repeat of the film Wargames on over the weekend - anyone care to guess how the supercomputer in that worked out?