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IBM Roadrunner Beats Cray's Jaguar

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 14 comments

According to the recently released list of the world’s Top500 supercomputers, the title of world’s fastest supercomputer goes to IBM’s Roadrunner, located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Los Alamos system, nicknamed Roadrunner, has hung onto its title as the world’s fastest supercomputer, a position that it first claimed back in June 2008. Since June, the supercomputer had received only slight upgrades, yet it was still able to edge out its competition this November with a speed of 1.105 petaflops/s under the Linpack benchmark application. Second place in the Top500 list went to Jaguar, the Cray XT5 supercomputer located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which achieved a speed of 1.059 petaflop/s. Both systems are operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, with seven of the top ten fastest supercomputers being located at U.S. Department of Energy facilities.

Third place in the Top500 list went to a system called Pleiades, a SGI Altix ICE system installed at NASA Ames in California, which reached a speed of 487 teraflop/s. The IBM BlueGene/L system, installed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, scored 478.2 teraflop/s for fourth place. Supercomputers today are roughly 1,000 times more powerful than they were ten years ago, with Roadrunner being the first system ever to break the petaflop/s barrier. To put petaflop speeds into perspective, a single petaflop/s is roughly the equivalent of combining together the computing power of 100,000 of the fastest notebooks on earth.

The Roadrunner was also the world’s first supercomputer to use a hybrid design, currently combining 12,960 IBM PowerXCell 8i CPUs and 6,912 AMD Opteron dual-core processors. The operating systems used by Roadrunner are said to be Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora, with the entire system draining about 2.35-megawatt of power. Roadrunner was primarily designed to ensure the safety and reliability of nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile by simulating how nuclear materials age. Other uses of Roadrunner include research into astronomy, energy, human genome science and climate change

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  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2008 6:34 PM
    Whats funny is in 10 years your standard notebook will have that processing power XD can't wait
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2008 8:09 PM
    Damn install seti@home on that thing and we'll find ET in like 2 days, then install fah for a cure to cancer by the end of the week... but who cares about that stuff when we've got new weapons to develop eh
  • 3 Hide
    fazers_on_stun , November 18, 2008 8:20 PM
    Yeah, but will it play Crysis?? :) 
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2008 8:23 PM
    ^ really... they need to straighten their priorities out... by the time nuclear material decays... like in 5000 years... we'll all be dead anyway so whats the point of simulating it... why not do stuff that can affect us now
  • -2 Hide
    Shadow703793 , November 18, 2008 9:24 PM
    ^Very true. F@H would benefit from this.
  • -1 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 19, 2008 12:18 AM
    We really need to invest in non-weapon use of supercomputer power. Japan and European countries use theirs to simulate weather and earthquakes.
  • -3 Hide
    falchard , November 19, 2008 12:22 AM
    Someone needs to build another AMD based Super Computer to keep AMD in business. Roadrunner and Jaguar accounted for 60% of AMDs sales this year.

    lol j/k. Notice how none of the super computers are Intel Based? Its cause AMD rulez.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 19, 2008 2:53 AM
    Actually, according to the article, if we presume that technological progress continues we may have desktops that reach these levels, since ten years ago their supercomputers were in teraflops and our current desktops can process in the teraflops (only with the help of high powered parallel processors, such as graphics cards/stream processors).
  • -4 Hide
    Oevre Clocker , November 19, 2008 4:46 AM
    How does it feel to Pet a Flop
  • -2 Hide
    jamesl , November 19, 2008 11:11 AM
    "The operating systems used by Roadrunner are said to be Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora,"

    so I guess it can't play Crysis
  • -1 Hide
    tipoo , November 19, 2008 1:33 PM
    I wonder if the PS4 will use a IBM PowerXCell 8i? they said they would stick with the cell base, so it seems possible. PS4 with 32 SPU's FTW!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2008 9:40 PM
    Put Vista on them. I bet that will slow them down. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , December 12, 2008 9:51 PM
    fazers_on_stunYeah, but will it play Crysis??

    no, it lacks the adequate intelligence and decision making abilities to PLAY crysis.
  • -1 Hide
    salem80 , March 26, 2009 3:17 PM
    AnonymousPut Vista on them. I bet that will slow them down.

    Nice One ...just if they not have BSOD on it ..they will have one with Vista .haaaaaaaaaaa