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IBM Builds 10 PFlops Supercomputer

By - Source: IBM | B 49 comments

IBM will be building a 750,000 core supercomputer for the DOE's Argonne National Library.

Called Mira, the system is expected to deliver a maximum performance of about 10 PFlop/s which is about twice as fast as today's fastest supercomputer on the Top 500 list.

The new system will be built on IBM's BlueGene/Q technology and be capable of running about 10 quadrillion calculations per second, which is about 20 times the performance of Argonne's current Intrepid supercomputer. According to IBM, Mire will be able to do about the same number of calculations every second as every man, woman and child in the U.S. could do in one year if they were to do one calculation each second.

There was no information when Mira will be completed and there was no information how much this system will cost. However, IBM said that the supercomputer is a stepping stone on the path to an exascale supercomputer, which is expected to arrive in the 2020 time frame and will be at least 100 times faster than Mira. IBM said that such systems may be powered by "100s of millions of cores".     

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  • 3 Hide
    PIZZA Man , February 8, 2011 11:28 PM
    Holy cow, can you imagine the possibilities this thing now opens? I can't wait to see what they do with this incomprehensible amount of processing power. But here's the big question: Can it run Crysis? ;) 
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , February 8, 2011 11:45 PM
    But can it run Windows ?
  • 5 Hide
    Bolbi , February 8, 2011 11:55 PM
    I just hope that they don't waste all of that raw computing power and taxpayers' dollars using this thing for "climate research"!
  • 2 Hide
    thillntn , February 9, 2011 12:04 AM
    is this cell based technology? another question would be"can it not get sued by $ony? :) 
  • 5 Hide
    eklipz330 , February 9, 2011 12:05 AM
    Quote:
    According to IBM, Mire will be able to do about the same number of calculations every second as every man, woman and child in the U.S. could do in one year if they were to do one calculation each second.


    but can it stop me from destroying it with a sledge hammer?

    no? then we humans are safe =]
  • 2 Hide
    eklipz330 , February 9, 2011 12:08 AM
    also [sorry for double post]

    365 days * 24 hours * 60mins * 60 seconds * 300,000,000 people =

    9,460,800,000,000,000 calculations in one second
  • 9 Hide
    HansVonOhain , February 9, 2011 12:13 AM
    Run a compatible Folding @ Home on that. That would be just incredible.
  • -1 Hide
    liveonc , February 9, 2011 12:30 AM
    I can just picture every man, woman and child in the U.S. doing arithmetics. One calculation each second for a whole year! :-) If you force them to, the terrorist have finally won, & there is peace on Earth...
  • 3 Hide
    jprahman , February 9, 2011 12:34 AM
    Just think about how much power that thing is going to use. If Chicago has a blackout around the same time they power that thing on we'll all know why.
  • 3 Hide
    warmon6 , February 9, 2011 12:50 AM
    HansVonOhainRun a compatible Folding @ Home on that. That would be just incredible.


    0.0

    Wow. that would be double of what F@H doing right now (according to F@h stats, were running 5.2 native Petra flops or unless you want to count the x86 flops as 9.3 Petra Flops)

    So if this thing were built tomorrow (which we know it wont) it could run the entire project with out our help. (in theroy)

    Although by the time IBM finish building that thing, F@H will already be past the 10 pflop range.
  • 2 Hide
    PreferLinux , February 9, 2011 12:56 AM
    asdfsdfBut can it run Windows ?

    Probably not!
  • 1 Hide
    Darkk , February 9, 2011 1:05 AM
    What I don't understand that CPU processing power in math is actually outdated thanks to the raw power of GPUs so would make sense to use those instead.
  • 1 Hide
    jprahman , February 9, 2011 1:17 AM
    True. The supercomputer the Chinese recently build featured large numbers of GPUs. A major advantage of GPUs is the GFLOP/watt ratio they boast. Take for instance the GTX 580, it consumes about 250W and runs at 1500 GFLOPs for a ratio of 6.3 GFLOPs per watt. A Core i7-2600 OTOH uses 95W and runs at 110 GFLOPs for a ratio of 1.5 GFLOPs per watt.

  • 4 Hide
    alidan , February 9, 2011 1:37 AM
    to the crysis question, if everything was possible, this thing would have enough memory on the cpus alone, to install crysis there, and is probably able to execute everything in real time, like exploding 5000+ barrels.
  • 1 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , February 9, 2011 1:39 AM
    jprahmanJust think about how much power that thing is going to use. If Chicago has a blackout around the same time they power that thing on we'll all know why.

    The Bluegene/Q achieves roughly 1.7 GFLOPS/W. Going by this metric a 10 PFLOPS system would consume roughly 5.9 MW, which isn't all that much by supercomputing standards especially considering Mire's peak theoretical performance.
    thillntnis this cell based technology? another question would be"can it not get sued by $ony?

    It's made up of 16-core quad-threaded PowerPC A2 based processors, each processor having 64 threads. So no, it isn't based on Cell, but even if it were, why would IBM get sued by Sony? The Cell architecture was developed and designed jointly by both companies, and IBM has already integrated it into many of its supercomputing designs.
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , February 9, 2011 1:40 AM
    jprahmanTrue. The supercomputer the Chinese recently build featured large numbers of GPUs. A major advantage of GPUs is the GFLOP/watt ratio they boast. Take for instance the GTX 580, it consumes about 250W and runs at 1500 GFLOPs for a ratio of 6.3 GFLOPs per watt. A Core i7-2600 OTOH uses 95W and runs at 110 GFLOPs for a ratio of 1.5 GFLOPs per watt.


    correct me if im wrong, but aren't gpus ony really good at processing pre determined things faster?

    i know there is one thing that makes a cpu a far better solution than a gpu, i just cant remember the thing.
  • 1 Hide
    jprahman , February 9, 2011 2:05 AM
    Predetermined? Are you referring to code branching? Basically GPUs don't handle code which has lots of conditional code well, IF statements and SWITCH CASE statements severely degrade performance. CPUs on the other hand have branch prediction units and control flow heavy code isn't a huge issue.
  • 0 Hide
    warmon6 , February 9, 2011 2:07 AM
    jprahmanTrue. The supercomputer the Chinese recently build featured large numbers of GPUs. A major advantage of GPUs is the GFLOP/watt ratio they boast. Take for instance the GTX 580, it consumes about 250W and runs at 1500 GFLOPs for a ratio of 6.3 GFLOPs per watt. A Core i7-2600 OTOH uses 95W and runs at 110 GFLOPs for a ratio of 1.5 GFLOPs per watt.

    DarkkWhat I don't understand that CPU processing power in math is actually outdated thanks to the raw power of GPUs so would make sense to use those instead.


    jprahman, you do know that the 95W TDP is how much watts of heat a cpu and/or a gpu will release and not how much it consumes ;) 

    Both the GTX 580 and the core i7's can consume more watts than there TDP's are. (not all the energy thats consumed by the hardware is lost as heat)

    As for why there not doing a build of gpu's, you are right that gpu's are faster in flops but it's difficult to program for a gpu to run stuff and not all programs that need floating point calculations are that well suited for a gpu.

    It also depends on energy usage and electical limitation as well. Yeah if a gpu can get stuff done faster, it could stop so it wouldn't use as much electricity..... Although how often do you here a super computer getting a break for completing a hard job? Rarely. So imagine all the cost of running that....

    Now, there is one thing to re-look at of who making this supercomputer. It's IBM. So there going to be using something similar to the PS3 cell cpu they make or there servers powerXcell sever cpu that back in 2008 was already able to achive over 100 GFLOPS on eight SPEs.

    Now whats different about the cpu's IBM has vs AMD/Intel? there cpu's are more like gpu's than cpu's but not fully gpu's. There like the hardware thats right in the middle of the 2. That at least according to the F@H programers that make and run the PS3 clients.

    So what ever cpu be put in this, i going to have to guess that it will have higher than average cpu flops but lower than power usage than a GPU. This is if IBM makes a cpu with what the cell's have.
  • 0 Hide
    jprahman , February 9, 2011 2:25 AM
    Sure CPUs and GPUs don't release all electricity as heat, but they do release a large part as heat.
  • 3 Hide
    Von Death , February 9, 2011 2:42 AM
    This is what the Matrix OS is run on.
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