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Los Alamos Fire Idles NSA Supercomputer

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the disko-inferno dept.

Security 65

ygslash writes "Among the many facilities shut down since Monday at Los Alamos National Laboratory due to the approaching wildfire is Cielo, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. The National Nuclear Security Administration's three national laboratories - Los Alamos, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore - all share computing time on Cielo, according to Associated Press." Update: 06/30 14:48 GMT by S : As readers have pointed out, this article refers to the National Nuclear Security Administration, not the National Security Agency. Summary updated to reflect that.

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65 comments

typo (3, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621460)

It's Agency, not Administration

Re:typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621472)

So they want you to believe !! Silly kids on slashdot !! / Never get much of anything !! / SWOOSH !!

Re:typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621476)

That's not a typo. It's a garden-variety "writer didn't know what he was talking about" flaming error.

Re:typo (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621812)

It was a typo, they just fixed it.

Re:typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621948)

No, it's not a typo. A typo is when you hit the wrong key on a keyboard (or omit a key). This is an inaccuracy as the parent of your comment stated.

Re:typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621536)

The job at Ceilo is called administrator, not agent ;-D

Actually, now I think of it... It is probably called NSS (National Security Sudo)

Re:typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621856)

But is he dedicated enough for the job?

http://xkcd.com/705/

Re:typo (2)

vbraga (228124) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621558)

I think the headline might be referring to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and not to the NSA.

Re:typo (3, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621870)

Yup.

I just checked on Cielo, and apparently it is the NNSA that operates it, and not the NSA.

So they're wrong on two levels, one for misspelling NSA, and two for using the wrong agency.

Ya I was wondering what was up (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622246)

There's no way the NSA lets their stuff go out to any other supercomputer, even one owned by the DoE. The NSA's institutional paranoia is legendary. Makes sense when you think about it, their mission is to safeguard critical US communications (government, financial and so on hence their participation in AES) and to do electronic intelligence gathering. Give that, one can understand how they get rather paranoid about informational security.

These big supercomputer are DoE (that is the NNSA's parent agency). They do all kinds of things, including weather simulation but a part of it as you might guess form the agency is nuclear testing. The US can't actually test its nuclear weapons anymore as it is a signatory to a treaty banning nuclear tests. So instead it does them by computer. These high end supercomputers really can simulate them down to an atomic level, so they can test and see how the nuclear weapons stockpile is holding up.

Re:typo (1)

ygslash (893445) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622474)

You're right. The AP article looks like it's wrong.

I was amazed by that little item they let slip in the middle of the article. It was the whole reason I posted this story - but it turns out to be just confusion of a clueless reporter. Ah, well. Sorry.

Re:typo (2)

ygslash (893445) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622522)

It's Agency, not Administration

Thanks.

But actually, it's Administration: The National Nuclear Security Administration. It turns out that the author of this AP story was a little confused.

maybe its just me (3, Funny)

papasui (567265) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621478)

but I had to read that headline about 4x to understand it.

Re:maybe its just me (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621590)

Yeah, it is a terrible headline.
I thought someone got fired until I remembered that Los Alamos is surrounded by fire.
Then, IDLE != shut down.
Be less terrible at your shock and Awe titles Slashdot.

Re:maybe its just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621706)

At first glance, I thought a supercomputer had been fired for being idle.

Re:maybe its just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621788)

I would say twice. It strives for brevity, at the expense of legibility.

Re:maybe its just me (2)

ygslash (893445) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622634)

maybe its just me, but I had to read that headline about 4x to understand it.

Yeah, sorry about that. Slashdot now has a very tight limit on the number of characters in a title, so it's tough to get in the point of the post. You've really got to pack it in.

We need to come up with a good compressed format for Slashdot titles.

Re:maybe its just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36623168)

Still, it would be helpful if you didn't use obscure verb forms.

Re:maybe its just me (1)

carpenoctem63141 (2266368) | more than 2 years ago | (#36623540)

Use British Headlinese. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3148 [upenn.edu]

lp0 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621522)

> WARNING: Job halted - lp0 on fire

Re:lp0 (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622110)

Get off my lawn! rofl haven't seen that one in a while. For the kids here, this is actually a valid system message...

Re:lp0 (1)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622326)

...says the guy with a six-digit UID. Get off my lawn.

Re:lp0 (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#36629342)

And for the kids who want an explanation, LP0 is line printer 0. When a line printer jams the friction can ignite the paper. This is bad, so a paper jam in a line printer gets a warning of what is probably happening.

SIGFIRE (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622314)

Or SIGFIRE.

Re:SIGFIRE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36622460)

Or SIGFIRE.

... or HCF (Halt and Catch Fire)

John McCain was wrong. It's not illegal aliens that start wildfires .... Evidently the DOE still uses core memory !

Re:SIGFIRE (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36624350)

From the BeOS Kernel Kit documentation:

double is_computer_on_fire(void)

Returns the temperature of the motherboard if the computer is currently on fire. If the computer isn't on fire, the function returns some other value.

Wrong agency (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621552)

Los Alamos, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore all belong to the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), _NOT_ the National Security Agency (NSA).

Re:Wrong agency (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621672)

Also, isn't Oak Ridge National Lab supposed to be part of that list? Or is it a different section of DOE?

Re:Wrong agency (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621736)

Oak Ridge, and many other labs are part of a different section of the DOE, named the Office of Science.

Re:Wrong agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621834)

Different part: they are on the Office of Science side of DOE, along with Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Pacific Northwest, etc.

Re:Wrong agency (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622088)

Thanks I was going to post that I thought that they where DOE labs and not the NSA.

Effect on TOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621566)

It would be interesting to see what TOR services/nodes/relays have suddenly become unavailable...

Re:Effect on TOR (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621674)

I'd be fairly surprised, even if the NNSA has any interest in Tor, to see much effect...

Tor involves enough crypto-twiddling that it isn't quite as computationally trivial as static-content webserving; but on anything remotely resembling modern hardware it is still going to be bandwidth constrained, rather than limited by anything else.

A huge supercomputer at a site likely using IPs from a well-known and early allocated government block would be a lousy place to put it. What a hypothetical interested party would want is a whole bunch of cheap and annonymous 1Us colo-ed in various random places and/or cheapy VPS instances all being paid for by front companies with PO boxes and horribly forgettable names.

Re:Effect on TOR (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621804)

cheap and annonymous 1Us colo-ed in various random places and/or cheapy VPS instances all being paid for by front companies with PO boxes and horribly forgettable names.
Yes http://cryptogon.com/?p=624 [cryptogon.com] had "High-Traffic Colluding Tor Routers in Washington, D.C., and the Ugly Truth About Online Anonymity" on just that in 2007 :)

This isn't... (0)

Net_fiend (811742) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621620)

sensationalist in the slightest. Not that I'd expect editing or fact checking prior to a /. post; that was a fad that died out decades ago. I fully expect this to get flame-baited.

Re:This isn't... (1)

Net_fiend (811742) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621726)

So...further checking reveals: - TFA states: National Security Administration instead of NISA (which was already noted earlier) which is more likely the actual Administration that is being stated in the article. - Still a long leap from /. assigning a new word to an Acronym that is notorious in the public eye. - Seeing as the NSA (National Security Agency) isn't even mentioned in TFA. A simple mistake? Probably.

Re:This isn't... (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622172)

Yes, It's the National Nuclear Security Administration that has a presence at those labs. That's not to say that the NSA isn't doing something there, but they're much less likely to make that public. NNSA is under the auspices of the Department of Energy, which one would assume, since those are DOE facilities, which are traditionally associated with nuclear research (especially Los Alamos). However, claiming that the NSA is down gets more page reads, doesn't it?

Link soup (2)

lancelet (898272) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621670)

OK - this is one of those postings where I ask: which of the links is actually TFA?!

Re:Link soup (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621772)

The very last one, but even then it's not obvious as the headline is about airplanes fighting the fires, the computer stuff is mentioned in the 3rd paragraph or so.

Nuclear Weapons Calculations a Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621684)

The Los Alamos and other NNSA supercomputers are instead running many, many, many... copies of Meeting Maker.

Great, who's going to listen to my calls now? (1, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621716)

So now I won't have a witness to the fact that my girlfriend is being TOTALLY FUCKING UNREASONABLE when she calls me in the middle of an important design project meeting to complain about some store clerk being rude to her at the supermarket. Just great.

Re:Great, who's going to listen to my calls now? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622078)

Aside from the fact that it wasn't really the NSA (or maybe the DOE eavesdrop)...

Wouldn't the other people in the important design project meeting be witnesses so such a call? So which isn't real? The meeting or the girlfriend?

Re:Great, who's going to listen to my calls now? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622562)

Only the NSA could witness, and presumably archive, *both sides* of the conversation. All the people in the meeting hear are "Excuse me, I have to take this" and then some muffled yelling from the hallway. Now there's no one to verify that she's being a total annoying bitch who can't seem to do even the simplest fucking thing without bugging me about it.

Re:Great, who's going to listen to my calls now? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#36623760)

Yea right. Don't worry the NSA has enough recordings of you calling for Pizza delivery to your parents basement. Girlfriend and design product meeting. Now that is funny.

Cielo? (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621764)

I see a fire down the road
Burnin' out of control and I'm like,
Forget you... /Pity the fool that supercomputes with you...

The Labs are DOE not NSA (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621770)

The Department of Energy operates the labs, not the NSA .

They also need to update their SSL Certificate... I went to go look at the Event Calendar at https://lanleventsext.lanl.gov/ [lanl.gov] off their main page to see if the Fire was a planned event and wouldn't you know, the Cert expired on 6/2/11.. Doh!

Supercomputer left idle? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#36622896)

Keep it busy, or it may get bored, start looking around, and then before you know it we are in a kill all humans scenario.

Cielo means literally "heaven," but is also commonly translated as "sky."

Re:Supercomputer left idle? (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#36623002)

An idle supercomputer means running a whole lot of endless loops in under 2 seconds each... in parallel!

Re:Supercomputer left idle? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#36626730)

I set you up with a supercomputer called "sky," a Sky-computer if you will, potentially deciding to end human life, and that's what you come up with?

Idle computers should be fired. (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 2 years ago | (#36623784)

Super or not if they are idle give them the boot... It sends a message to the rest of the computers that they may be next.

I read that as (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36624864)

I read that as "NSA fires idle supercomputer"

Too bad stupidcomputer, should have kept busy while the economy was slow!
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