World’s first petaflop supercomputer gets decommissioned

Apr 1, 2013

IBM has been producing some of the best performing supercomputers in the world for a number of years. In fact, back in 2008 and 2009 IBM developed and launched a supercomputer called Roadrunner. This supercomputer was the first to be able to operate at sustained performance in the petaflop range.

The computer was installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where it has been in use for the last five years. Yesterday, the laboratory officially decommissioned Roadrunner. The supercomputer has 12,960 IBM PowerXCell 8i processors and 6480 AMD Opteron dual-core processors.

Those processors shared 114 TB of memory and about 1.09 million TB of storage. The supercomputer isn't being completely dismantled, researchers will continue to utilize the machine and its impressive power for various experiments. These experiments will include things such as determining the methods for compressing operating system memory and optimizing data routing.

With Roadrunner being decommissioned from research duties, scientists and other researchers can now use the computer for projects that couldn't have been done while the supercomputer was being used for research projects. The computer is housed in 6000 ft.² of space and cost $125 million to build. Roadrunner may not be fast enough for the scientists and researchers at Los Alamos, but the computer is still incredibly fast and sits at number 22 on the list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. The computer gulps power needing 2345 kW when running full tilt. Modern supercomputers need significantly less power to achieve significantly more performance.

[via PCMag]

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