2009's most powerful supercomputer gives way to new generation

    The time has come for the best supercomputer in the world in three consecutive Top 500 rankings for June 2008, November 2008 and June 2009 to give way to the next generation of supercomputing systems. Although now with a performance of more than 1 petaflop, IBM Roadrunner occupies the 22nd place in the world, due to the complexity of its maintenance, the owners decided to disassemble it into components .

    The decommissioning of the supercomputer took place yesterday March 31, 2013. But in the near future, students will still be experimenting with it.

    In a press releaseThe Los Alamos National Laboratory says “unique and controversial” architecture was chosen for IBM Roadrunner. It combined two types of processors: 6563 dual-core conventional processors (AMD Opteron), where each core was connected to a separate PowerXCell 8i processor, this is an improved version of the processors that are installed Playstation 3 game consoles.

    The unusual architecture of the supercomputer was reflected in its power consumption : Roadrunner consumes 2,345 kW at its 1,042 petaflops. For comparison, the supercomputer, which occupies 21st place in the Top 500, consumes 1,177 kW, while slightly inferior to it No. 23, it consumes only 493 kW. The cost of 2.3 megawatts of electricity is not such a large amount, if you count 5.56 cents per kilowatt hourfor industrial enterprises in the state of New Mexico for 2012.

    But the main problem is not the cost of electricity, but rather the complexity of maintenance and writing programs for the hybrid architecture. The hybrid architecture experiment was valuable in itself.

    The fact is that the Los Alamos National Laboratory wants to make the new supercomputer 10-50 times faster than the old one and again reach the top of the Top 500 rating. This requires additional resources that have been used to support IBM Roadrunner.

    The IBM Roadrunner supercomputer is installed in the Los Alamos National Laboratory of the US Department of Energy. This is one of two laboratories conducting nuclear weapons work. In addition to nuclear weapons, IBM Roadrunner has helped to conduct many other experiments over four and a half years of work. For example, it simulated the properties of nanowires, laser backscatter, magnetic reconnection, phylogenetics of the HIV virus, and even a model of the Universe on a scale of 70 billion objects.

    The cost of IBM Roadrunner at the time of assembly was 120 million US dollars.

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