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Japan's 8-petaflop K Computer Is Fastest On Earth

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-can-it-run-doom dept.

Supercomputing 179

Stoobalou writes "An eight-petaflop Japanese supercomputer has grabbed the title of fastest computer on earth in the new Top 500 Supercomputing List to be officially unveiled at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg today. The K Computer is based at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan, and smashes the previous supercomputing records with a processing power of more than 8 petaflop/s (quadrillion calculations per second) — three times that of its nearest rival."

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The fastest rival isn't the show computers. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499334)

So it's faster than the Crays on the list, the nearest competitors?

Cray is way down the list - China has the nearest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499422)

The Chinese Tianhe-1A is nearest with 2.6 petaflops

Re:The fastest rival isn't the show computers. (2, Funny)

ElizabethGreene (1185405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499562)

In other news, company announces the system will be used initially for Bitcoin mining. The Payback period is expected to range between three weeks an two hundred years, depending on market conditions....

fastest known (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499336)

the NSA has it's own chip fab

Re:fastest known (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499452)

I imagine that their in-house fab churns out some very interesting niche designs; but it would be a real surprise if it has any terribly impressive capabilities in general-purpose compute applications. Staying on the bleeding edge of fabrication requires serious money, while just quietly gobbling up commodity stuff from Intel or Nvidia or whoever won't raise any eyebrows.

They probably have some cool specialized crypto-crunchers based on cryptoanalysis that hasn't officially been done yet, and I suspect that they are the chaps to talk to when you need a chip that absolutely hasn't been backdoored in china; but I suspect that their process density and clockspeed capabilities are middling at best.

Re:fastest known (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499918)

Rubbish. They want the highest Prime95 and SuperPi scores and to find the next Mersenne prime.

Re:fastest known (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500426)

I imagine that their in-house fab churns out some very interesting niche designs; but it would be a real surprise if it has any terribly impressive capabilities in general-purpose compute applications. Staying on the bleeding edge of fabrication requires serious money, while just quietly gobbling up commodity stuff from Intel or Nvidia or whoever won't raise any eyebrows.

They probably have some cool specialized crypto-crunchers based on cryptoanalysis that hasn't officially been done yet, and I suspect that they are the chaps to talk to when you need a chip that absolutely hasn't been backdoored in china; but I suspect that their process density and clockspeed capabilities are middling at best.

That's what they want you to think.

It's obviously a new world order government conspiracy to mine all the remaining Bitcoins.

Re:fastest known (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500592)

Reasonable enough. The Greys only accept payment in Bitcoins or cattle mutilation, and the latter causes unfortunate political pushback in some of the early primary states...

Re:fastest known (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499490)

But NSA only use theirs for spying on their own and other nations citizens and corporations so it's not very relevant in the big picture. Think of it like building the worlds tallest skyscraper, in a pit deeper than the height of the building, then you put a lid on it, fill the pit with water and house a family of goldfishes in it. That's more or less what a NSA "supercomputer" is.

Re:fastest known (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499530)

Except that all the goldfish are wearing dark glasses and shoulder holsters, and are trained to use their unnaturally bulbous eyes to tap fiber optic lines...

Re:fastest known (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36501048)

And shoot lasers?

Re:fastest known (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499642)

But it's the world's best goldfish bowl.

Re:fastest known (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499542)

Not anymore.

oblig. (4, Funny)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499388)

640K cores is enough for anyone.

Re:oblig. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499672)

Is that SIMD or MIMD?

oblig. oblig. (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500796)

But does it run BSD?

Re:oblig. oblig. oblig. (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500872)

But will it blend?

quadrillion? (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499398)

Anyone here who find that 'quadrillion' is more descriptive than peta? (or 1e15, for that matter?).

Re:quadrillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499468)

Perhaps so, but this thing is powered by cats, which is why peta got involved.

Re:quadrillion? (1)

niklask (1073774) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499556)

Hey now, I'm a proud member of People for the Eating of Tasty Animals.

Re:quadrillion? (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499476)

I find peta more descriptive, it has only one meaning, while quadrillion has two.

Re:quadrillion? (2)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499726)

I agree, big numbers are a bit of a problem since the naming scheme isn't the same around the world.

There can be 6 orders of magnitude difference between trillion and trillion depending on where you are.

Danish for instance goes.
million, milliard, billion, billiard, trillion (10^18)
vs. US:
million, billion, trillion (10^12)

Peta on the other hand has a somewhat more unified meaning.

Re:quadrillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499926)

So.... how much is it in units of bit coins?

Re:quadrillion? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500052)

I suppose that's why we have scientific notation, yes?

Re:quadrillion? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500532)

Did you bother to rea he thread or just felt like random trolling?

Re:quadrillion? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499888)

Peta has two meanings. 1 is a very large number prefix, the other is a bunch of animal "loving" hippies.

Re:quadrillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499780)

Nanometers, micrometers, millimeters, centimeters, decimeters, meters, decameters, (hecto... hm.), kilometers, megameters... hey wait. I guess meters and flops are just differently-prefixed. Sometimes. *sigh*

Re:quadrillion? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500008)

Not at all, quite the contrary.

The world does not not agree on the name of any number beyond million, the Americans call it billion, the Europeans milliard and so forth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_large_numbers [wikipedia.org]

Re:quadrillion? (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500028)

Anyone here who find that 'quadrillion' is more descriptive than peta? (or 1e15, for that matter?).

I would lean towards "brazillian!"

Remarkable stuff (1)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499444)


I'd like to see them use all that processing power for finding the cause of disease. If they could somehow simulate so that we could see a subluxation just as they form, we could treat them before they manifest themselves into larger problems like cancer and heart disease.

Re:Remarkable stuff (2)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499522)

Did you post that just to be able to use the word that is in your sig?

Re:Remarkable stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499848)

Eh? We already know what causes disease. The body has these four 'humors', and when they get out of balance bad things happen. All of these bad things can be cured by magically tapping, twisting, and massaging the spine. Don't they teach kids anything these days?

Imagine (1)

guttentag (313541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499456)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of... wait. Are we still doing that? OK, now I feel old. In Slashdot years.

Re:Imagine (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499504)

I'm pretty sure that we've moved all our beowulf clusters to a cloud that runs linux in soviet russia...

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499674)

Which means all your petaflops are belong to us now?

Re:Imagine (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499716)

how large is this beowulf cluster in Library of Congresses?

Re:Imagine (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500056)

It doesn't run linux, it's being run linux -- it's in soviet Russia.

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36500314)

No, we aren't doing that anymore.

Now it's, "8 petaflop/s! That's almost enough to run Vista!"

Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499496)

For supercomputers, it seems at least once a year something doubles. For desktop computers... Mine is 4 years old and still similar in specs to PCs that are being sold today.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (3, Informative)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499688)

Two things, your 4 year old desktop is nowhere near as fast as the new i7s. It just seems that way because you're not doing number crunching on it; for normal applications, you'd probably see a bigger boost by switching to a SSD then a new CPU. Second, these supercomputers are massively parallel, so while the procs themselves do get faster, the real increase in speed seen comes from adding lots more cores.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500800)

What if your 4 year old desktop is a dual-quad core (8 core) machine? Sure, it benches slower than some i7's, but it's as good as an i5.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499730)

How many cores ? Have you considered the GPU as well ? These years, it is the form factor and the price that are halfed every year or so. It will continue until we find a use for the ridiculous power we have today.

smartphones are now dual-core, mainstream computers DO continue to improve.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499766)

I'm not sure that you are being entirely fair to the desktops:

On the one hand, since a vast percentage of desktops are sold to budget-conscious users with fairly defined needs, the bottom end of the desktop market moves fairly sluggishly(of course, the bottom end of 'supercomputers' also moves more sluggishly; but nobody bothers to talk about the "250,000th fastest supercomputer!!"); but the top end has been moving at a reasonably steady clip.

Back in mid 2007, a Core2 quad was Pretty Serious Stuff, with maybe a Geforce 8800 or 9800 and 4-8 gigs of RAM if you were hardcore like that.

That will still go head to head with a contemporary budget to midrange box; but if you spent the same money today that you would have had to spend on that, you could be talking a high-end i7, a markedly more powerful graphics card(or 3 of them), and two or three times the RAM. Plus, the now-reasonably-cost-effective-even-when-large-enough-to-be-useful SSD that will have driven your I/O numbers through the roof.

Apathy and diminshing returns keep the desktop market boring; but if those are no object, you can still go nuts.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (1)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499864)

Apathy and diminshing returns keep the desktop market boring; but if those are no object, you can still go nuts.

As a VMWare workstation and Virtualbox junkie, I can attest to this.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499934)

The big advancements in personal computing these last few years have been mostly been in graphics cards. Though density has improved, the benefits have been going more towards power efficiency than towards raw speed.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500556)

It is true that GPUs have seen a lot of the excitement(particularly with their transition toward being general-purpose); but part of that is arguably definitional:

Because(contemporary, I'm sure SGI and Sun were doing cool stuff back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper...) multi-GPU tech started its life as a hardcore gamer feature, you can get "desktop" motherboards with support for 3 or 4 16x(physical, usually 8x electrical) PCIe graphics cards. The moment you add a second CPU socket, though, it becomes a "workstation" or "pedestal server" part. Especially now that the FSB is dead, removing one of the major bottlenecks that made older multi-socket systems scale like pure suck, multi-socket systems run like a bat out of hell, support huge amounts of RAM, and benefit as much as the single socket ones do from the number of cores per socket that are now available. However, all that is, by definition, "workstation" or "server".

With supercomputers, on the other hand, since that is a more or less nebulous category that simply refers to whatever is huge and fast at the time, you can add a whole additional row of floor-to-ceiling racks and the category doesn't change.

Re:Supercomputers seem to evolve faster than PCs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36501068)

For desktop computers... Mine is 4 years old and still similar in specs to PCs that are being sold today.

No, it is NOT even close! It is sad that people still view GHz as some metric of computing.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/ [cpubenchmark.net]

There, go and find your old CPU and compare it to a modern one that sells at a similar price.

Cool, what are they using it for? (0)

Sgs-Cruz (526085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499498)

Bigger news than a new fastest supercomputer on the planet would be one that had as its primary mission peaceful uses. The Roadrunner (fastest computer in the USA) is for H-bomb simulations ("stockpile stewardship") and gives some of its time to climate change and magnetically-confined plasma (for fusion power) simulations. (Possibly just for PR.) Hopefully since Japan doesn't have a nuclear weapons program this machine will be used 100% for peaceful purposes!

Re:Cool, what are they using it for? (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499774)

peace is not a static state of being. peace is a balanced state of tension between armed foes. war is a disruption in this equilibrium that is then restored. the goal of maintaining peace is to not have any sudden shocks to the status quo

you will never, ever, have a world where peace is simply a static state of being that requires no armed maintenance. why? human nature is why

show me a place where everyone is unarmed and peaceful, and i'll show you a warlord's pillaging grounds

sorry, but this is reality. stop asking for things that don't exist, and never will, as long as human beings are human beings

Re:Cool, what are they using it for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499942)

VERY well stated.

Re:Cool, what are they using it for? (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500846)

It is also true that the US is spending about ten times more on the military than is needed for peace. It is also true that in the US we use capitol letters and periods to make things easier to reads.

Re:Cool, what are they using it for? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499914)

The Roadrunner (fastest computer in the USA) is for H-bomb simulations ("stockpile stewardship") and gives some of its time to climate change and magnetically-confined plasma (for fusion power) simulations. (Possibly just for PR.)

Might want to review the top 10 list again. The fastest supercomputer in the USA is Jaguar at ORNL. Much of it's CPU time is dedicated towards energy research -- biofuels, cellulosic ethanol, that sort of thing,. . .

Re:Cool, what are they using it for? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499978)

Japan does have a nuclear weapons program. It is just sleeping. If/when the US withdraws its naval forces from the defense of Japan, perhaps due to pressure from China, japan can be mass producing nuclear weapons in just a few months.

Re:Cool, what are they using it for? (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500212)

Absolutely nothing , they are using it for the "lulz" and bitcoin farming, and troll feeding on mondays.

Built by Fujitsu (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499512)

The article misses out who built it... Fujitsu did, and it's nice to be proud of the company you work for and that my colleagues in Japan achieved something rather cool :)

Oh, and it's not finished yet :)

Re:Built by Fujitsu (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499900)

Fujitsu is actually mentioned in the article. It's not big (they seem to give more credit to Japan as a whole than the individual company), but they're still credited.

Re:Built by Fujitsu (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499952)

Huh?
The K Computer was built by Fujitsu, and contains more than 80,000 2GHz SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs, each with eight cores, to deliver a total of more than 640,000 processing cores.

That said I'm fairly surprised that it managed to be the 4th highest efficiency system, the SPARC64 isn't really known for being a hugely efficient and the low density of FLOPS/chip would normally mean it needs more support infrastructure further lowering the efficiency. Obviously the guys at Fujitsu have managed to do some great system engineering since Rmax is so close to Rpeak, kuddo's to them for making an awesome system around an ok chip!

Re:Built by Fujitsu (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500818)

Wow, after reading up on the VIIIfx I take back what I said about ok chip, the thing is an HPC beast. 128GFLOPS in a 58W envelope is crazy good. Increasing the dual precision FP registers from 32 to 256 is huge, this is obviously not a chip designed to go into Sun or Fujitsu business class system but tailor designed for HPC (heck going from the VII to the VIIIfx they actually lost L2 cache while increasing the core count, not something you would do for commercial workloads). I wonder if it is worth it for Fujitsu though, 80k parts is a big single order but unless they get a lot more HPC wins I can't see it paying off financially as modern designs like this cost hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars.

Re:Built by Fujitsu (1)

Talcyon (150838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500488)

Apologies. I'm on a lot of drugs right now for an infection. I meant the slashdot entry doesn't mention Fujitsu, not the linked article.

But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499592)

Can it run Crysis?

Re:But.. (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36501084)

Could most certainly ray-trace Crysis in real-time. This is a beast of note.

Not the fastest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499602)

A birdie says a supercomputer exists with a 2000-8000 petaFLOP performance rating.

Re:Not the fastest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499712)

How much power do you think that would draw?

Not fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499622)

Not fair. Theirs runs on radiation.

Re:Not fair (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499648)

Better than Chinese slave labor.

SPARC PR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499662)

I wonder if Oracle (nee Sun) will use this as a PR tool given that it uses SPARC CPUs (though it does run Linux, and not Solaris).

In general though, the CPUs are generally the least interesting parts of these types of machines. I'm personally often more interested in how the cooling and power distribution systems have been designed to run efficiently and have low PUE numbers than any of the raw compute stats. Things like water / glycol / non-air cooling and UPS / generator / power distribution architectures can become challenging when you start talking about megwatts of energy. Also data management and backups too.

CPU and memory is less interesting than how to tie it all together IMHO.

Re:SPARC PR? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500380)

Seymour Cray would be rolling in his grave if he heard you talking about his beloved supercomputers as if they were glorified refrigerators.

Oh.... wait.... Never Mind.

How long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499682)

until the software retards bring that thing to a crawl for reading a website? Or a 10 gigabyte "hello world"?

Re:How long (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499748)

Are you joking? Firefox is "faster" every version!!! (Req: faster computer)

Re:How long (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499796)

Your brain, which runs on a few tens of watts and weighs as much as your laptop, has a 10 gigabyte "hello world". you chose the wrong measure for efficiency.

Re:How long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36500148)

If you think that's in any way comparable, you are more than just a software retard. No words exist yet for your condition.

Wow, a really fast compouter! (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499752)

Sure the Singularity and Computer Sentience cannot be far-off now. Yay. A faster computer. I guess this is news for today but this is 'dog bites man' stuff. Tomorrow the sun will rise again and there will be a faster computer than this one. Yawn

Here's What It Looks Like (2)

1sockchuck (826398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499798)

Here are some images of the system [datacenterknowledge.com] , which currently uses 672 cabinets and uses about 10 megawatts of power. The K system is more powerful than the next 5 systems combined. It's a big-ass system.

BRAAIINNNNNNNS (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499806)

Can anyone tell us the most recent accepted figure for human brain emulation in petaflops and terrabytes of memory?

Re:BRAAIINNNNNNNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36499960)

Approximately 3.1415 Libraries of Congress per second.

Re:BRAAIINNNNNNNS (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500020)

If you are interested, try giving this page a read.

http://www.transhumanist.com/volume1/moravec.htm

I googled it, so can't verify it's accuracy, but it looked reasonable.

Re:BRAAIINNNNNNNS (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500414)

Sorry, but we are so far from figuring how the brain works, your question has no meaning at all.
If you are thinking something along the lines that a big "neural network" can emulate the brain, I would have to tell you that the artificial neuron is a very useful math construct that is only related to a biological neuron via a crude abstraction. Replacing biological neurons with artificial neural networks is similar to replacing a fisherman with a perfect sphere in a math problem : useful in some context, no relation beyond that.

Re:BRAAIINNNNNNNS (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500848)

I research brains and haven't ever seen good numbers. It's really hard to equate brain processing with computer processing. In some ways brains are far superior and in others, far inferior. There seems to be no upper limit on what our brains can learn so essentially we have unlimited hard drive storage. However, for active processes, we're quite limited in what we can do in parallel - sort of. We do many things in parallel but not many consciously (i.e., our sensory systems are always going and our motor and vestibular systems are always going but what we are actively think about is generally limited to one thing at a time, although we can rapidly switch between thoughts).

The link below (http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2252976&cid=36500020) is interesting but is still too simplistic. Again, people's brain don't really work like computers so it would be quite a stretch to come up with any sort of FLOPS value. RAM is also difficult to equate with brain processing power but our brains have infinite hard drive space (we just have difficulty accessing information some times). Even then, we don't really store memories like bits on a hard drive. We recreate memories whenever we access them, as far as we know.

K Computer (1)

chocapix (1595613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499880)

According to wikipedia, K Computer (or Kobe Computer) refers to cuts of computer from the Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu semiconductors, raised according to strict tradition in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The output from such computers is generally considered to be a delicacy, renowned for its flavour, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture.

Re:K Computer (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500190)

This computer power comes from fine beer destillary and it gets massages daily by caretakers who talk to him and never leave him alone for more than two hours.

Sparc based (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499946)

It is using Sparc CPUs and no GPUs. I wonder if Oracle is watching? It will be interesting to see since they now own the Zombie formally known as Sun.
So when are we going to see nVidia get into this game with ARM+GPU based super computer?

Re:Sparc based (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500922)

Since SPARC is an open spec, why should Oracle care?

Re:Sparc based (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36501024)

Because Sun developed SPARC and if for no other reason than PR.
The worlds fastest computer is powered by SPARC makes a great lead in for selling SPARC based servers.

Fastest computer on Earth? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499964)

So there are faster computers on some other planet somewhere?

I might think about ordering one of those instead, except shipping cost (and time ) would be a problem, and my credit card would expire before they got the order (the speed of light is a bitch)

What's up with 'Earth'? (0)

Quantum_Infinity (2038086) | more than 3 years ago | (#36499976)

"fastest computer on earth".

Lately, the phrase ' in the world' has given way to ' on earth'. Things that used to fastest in the world are now fastest on earth. Factually both are correct but their implications are slightly different. When you use the word 'world' you are mostly concerned with what's happening on earth and you are not at all concerned with other heavenly bodies, however the moment you use the word 'earth' it implies that you are talking in a broader context with encompasses at least our other solar system bodies if not the entire universe. 'Fastest on earth' seems to imply that there are other computers on other planets and that you have knowledge of their existence and that you know that this supercomputer is fastest on earth, though it may not be fastest in the solar system. Of course there can be computers on other planets too (there probably are and this one is indeed fastest on earth) but the incorrect part is that 'on earth' implies that you have knowledge of existence of super computers elsewhere outside the earth too. I think 'in the world' is more appropriate.

Re:What's up with 'Earth'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36500202)

Regardless of Earth vs World

It is Earth with a capital e. Earth denotes the planet 3rd from the sun. earth is the dirt that plants grow in.

So, fastest on earth would disregard the many supercomputers on boats, beaches or hard rock.

Re:What's up with 'Earth'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36500308)

Since I see stars at night, they are part of my world. We don't know if there are faster computers around them, so saying "fastest on Earth" is technically better.

Performance ... (1)

advance-software (1770510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500094)

so that's approx. 100 Gflop per sparc cpu. (double precision?)

what can a high end xeon do ?

Increasingly Irrelevant Benchmark (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500348)

the top 500 is based upon the Linpack benchmark and it is not really a good reflection on 'how fast' a super computer really is. Newer benchmarks, such as graph500 [graph500.org] and NAS parallel benchmarks [nasa.gov] try to make the benchmark more real world. But if all you plan to do is solve linear equations then I guess Linpack is your thing.

Re:Increasingly Irrelevant Benchmark (1)

advance-software (1770510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500500)

yeah - how many polys can this baby real-time raytrace @ 60 fps ?

Re:Increasingly Irrelevant Benchmark (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500972)

But if all you plan to do is solve linear equations then I guess Linpack is your thing.

You are right but for the wrond reasons. An awful lot of HPC stuff spoves linear equations. It forms the inner loop of many PDE solvers, for instance. However, LINPACK is dense linear, whereas many problems where linear equations are the inner loop solve large, sparse systems. That said, there are many inner blocks which are solved as dense problems.

The Graph500 note that the graph problems are ill-suited to machines which solve 3D pyhsics problems.

In other words, liesd, damn lies and benchmarks.

BitCoins Supreme! (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500432)

I wonder how many bitcoins this monster can mine per hour lol?

I believe you want the show computer (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500838)

That is, you want the unrankable Tianhe-1 GPU "show computer".

failure rate? (1)

pigwiggle (882643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500552)

What I don't quite get - and maybe someone can enlighten me - is how they keep 80K compute nodes going. Even with very reliable hardware, several of these nodes will fail each day. The massively parallel codes I work with (MD) can't deal with a compute node going out. Do other massively parallel codes have a way to deal with this sort of thing? This seems to be a big challenge for parallel computing. When you have a code and problem that can use several thousand nodes, hardware failure will be a daily occurrence. Incidentally, I've had the opportunity to use several thousand cpus in one go. Before New Mexico's Encanto was released for general use I was one of several people that had access to the machine. There really wasn't a problem running million or billion atom systems over several thousand cpus. But this was just brief benchmarking runs. Not data production.

Re:failure rate? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500974)

Frequently, job restart. Long running jobs have checkpoint and restore. Generally, fault is isolated to a job, so yes, on 80,000 systems you'll have a failure, but if you were doing 800 large jobs, you only lose 1, and 799 jobs didn't even know something went wrong. Generally something like this runs a few benchmarks across the whole thing in the very very beginning, and never again does the whole work as one toward a single task.

Re:failure rate? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36500990)

Oh, and that one job 'lost' gets restarted shortly thereafter, with the user maybe realizing that it took longer than he thought it should.

Re:failure rate? (1)

pigwiggle (882643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36501118)

Frequent checkpoints would be onerous for billion atom systems.

Japan's Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36500788)

"And the President responded to the incident by saying 'Screw those commie bastards, and screw their little wussy supercomputer."

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