Linux Supercomputer Roadrunner Takes Petaflops Hurdle

Jun 11, 2008

The Roadrunner supercomputer developed by IBM for the Department of Energy at the Los Alamos National Laboratory is the first to take the Petaflops hurdle of 1.026 billion operations per second.

The hybrid machine running on a Red Hat Linux-based operating system easily outpaces the previous leader in the Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers, BlueGene/L (478 Teraflops) again by IBM, which achieves just half of Roadrunner’s performance Roadrunner will mainly be used for military research into nuclear weapons, with some capacity also being dedicated to researching the human genome and to weather simulations. The hybrid machine combines the Cell processor designed for the PlayStation with AMD x86 processors, with no less than 6948 dual-core Opteron chips installed. 12,960 Cell processors form part two of the machine, which has no less than 80 terabytes of memory, residing in 288 BladeCenter racks and occupying a floor space of 6000 square meters. The supercomputer is comparatively frugal with respect to power requirements, clocking up 376 million operations per watt. IBM expects Roadrunner to take one of the top notches in the list of green supercomputers. The investment in the project was around US$ 100 m says IBM.

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