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The ComputerMavin and TechMavin has been working in the Computer field for several years.
As a digerati, my interests include Data Structures & Algorithms, Software methodology & Programming languages, Operating Systems & Client Server systems, Fault Tolerant Computing, SQL, JAVA, HTML, XML and Web Design and Development, Data Communications & Computer Networking, Speech & Pattern recognition. Living upto the meaning of Mavin (EXPERT) I am a Yahoo Expert in the Programming Languages and Internet categories.

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Roadrunner, world's first petaflop/s system, remains #1 on the Top500

In 2006, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration selected Los Alamos National Laboratory as the development site for Roadrunner and IBM as the computer’s designer and builder. Roadrunner, named after the New Mexico state bird, cost about $100 million, and was a three-phase project to deliver the world’s first “hybrid” supercomputer – one powerful enough to operate at one petaflop (one thousand trillion calculations per second). That’s twice as fast as the current No.1 rated IBM Blue Gene system at Lawrence Livermore National Lab – itself nearly three times faster than the leading contenders on the current TOP 500 list of worldwide supercomputers.

  • Roadrunner will primarily be used to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. It will also be used for research into astronomy, energy, human genome science and climate change.
  • Roadrunner is the world’s first hybrid supercomputer. In a first-of-a-kind design, the Cell Broadband Engine® -- originally designed for video game platforms such as the Sony Playstation 3® -- will work in conjunction with x86 processors from AMD®.
  • Made from Commercial Parts. In total, Roadrunner connects 6,562 dual-core AMD Opteron® chips as well as 12,240 Cell chips (on IBM Model QS22 blade servers). The Roadrunner system has 98 terabytes of memory, and is housed in 278 refrigerator-sized, IBM BladeCenter® racks occupying 5,200 square feet. Its 10,000 connections – both Infiniband and Gigabit Ethernet -- require 55 miles of fiber optic cable. Roadrunner weighs 500,000 lbs. Companies that contributed components and technology include; Emcore, Flextronics, Mellanox and Voltaire.

  • IBM is developing new software to make Cell-powered hybrid computing broadly accessible. Roadrunner’s massive software effort targets commercial applications for hybrid supercomputing. With corporate and academic partners, IBM is developing an open-source ecosystem that will bring hybrid supercomputing to financial services, energy exploration and medical imaging industries among others.
 Applications for Cell-based hybrid supercomputing include: calculating cause and effect in capital markets in real-time, supercomputers in financial services can instantly predict the ripple effect of a stock market change throughout the markets. In medicine, complex 3-D renderings of tissues and bone structures will happen in real-time, as patients are being examined.
Roadrunner operates at speeds exceeding one petaflop -- one thousand trillion calculations per second -- or one million billion calculations per second; or one quadrillion calculations per second.

  • Lots of laptops. That’s roughly equivalent to the combined computing power of 100,000 of today’s fastest laptop computers. You would need a stack of laptops 1.5 miles high to equal Roadrunner’s performance.
  • It would take the entire population of the earth, -- about six billion – each of us working a handheld calculator at the rate of one second per calculation, more than 46 years to do what Roadrunner can do in one day.
  • In the past 10 years, supercomputer power has increased about 1,000 times. Today, just three of Roadrunner’s 3,456 Tri-blade units have the same power as the 1998 fastest computer. A complex physics calculation that will take Roadrunner one week to complete, would have taken the 1998 machine 20 years to finish – it would be half done today! If it were possible for cars to improve their gas mileage over the past decade at the same rate that supercomputers have improved their cost and efficiency, we'd be getting 200,000 miles to the gallon today.

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Last updated Jan 1, 2009

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