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BlueGene/L Puts the Hammer Down

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-machine dept.

Supercomputing 152

OnePragmatist writes "Cyberinfrastructure Technology Watch is reporting that BlueGene/L has nearly doubled its performance to 135.3 Teraflops by doubling its processors. That seems likely to keep it at no. 1 on the Top500 when the next round comes out in June. But it will be interesting to see how it does when they finally get around to testing it against the HPC Challenge benchmark, which has gained adherents as being more indicative of how a HPC system will peform with various different types of applicatoins."

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Finally... (5, Funny)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044086)

Maybe this thing can keep the WoW service running.

Re:Finally... (1)

Cruithne (658153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044237)

More than likely it will just end up with me getting ganked at 135.3 Teraflops :/ *pictures body flopping to the ground* At least corpse runs should be faster....

omg fp lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044091)

Fap, rofl.

The real question is.... (4, Funny)

bryan986 (833912) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044102)

...how do we slashdot it?

Two (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044103)

Well, maybe it will be number two ... like me

Avoiding the obvious memes... (3, Funny)

yuriismaster (776296) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044104)

How much processing power does one need for any certain application? I know that projects like World Community Grid need massive amounts of computing power, but seriously, 135 TFlops?

...ok I couldn't resist

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these....

Re:Avoiding the obvious memes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044179)

Redundant!?!? Was the first to utter the required meme, I dont think its worth the redundant mod...

Re:Avoiding the obvious memes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12045030)

Redundant doesn't have to apply to just this thread. That joke is so old it's redundant period. Why even use it? Get some new material mr. comedian

Re:Avoiding the obvious memes... (1)

Traf-O-Data-Hater (858971) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045432)

Just enough processing power to comfortably beat any rival country's effort, is what's needed. Presumably only the Japanese were happy with The Earth Simulator in top spot. It must have been galling to other SC builders until BG came into existence.

similarities (4, Insightful)

teh_mykel (756567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044106)

does anyone else find the similarities between the computer hardware world and DragonballZ irratating? right when you think its finally over, the best is exposed and found worthy, yet another difficulty comes up - along with the standard unfathomed power increases and bizare advances. then it all happens again :/

Re:similarities (5, Funny)

TetryonX (830121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044172)

If the BlueGene/L can grant me any wish I want for collecting 7 of them, sign me up.

Re:similarities (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045730)

If the BlueGene/L can grant me any wish I want for collecting 7 of them, sign me up.

If your wish is a question of protein folding, it'll try to grant it for you with only 1 of 'em. I wouldn't hold my breath for anything else though.

Re:similarities (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044173)

As long as blue gene doesn't turn us into cookies, im fine with it.

Re:similarities (1)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044375)

Fortunately there is a lot less grunting.

Re:similarities (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044725)

It also usually takes at least half a year for any progress to be made.

Woah! (-1, Redundant)

Randy Wang (700248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044112)

BlueGene/L has nearly doubled its performance to 135.3 Teraflops by doubling its processors. Imagine a beowulf clust of those things! ...wait a sec. Crap. :-(

Wait a minute... (0, Redundant)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044123)

Imagine a Beowolf cluster of ... ouch my brain just exploded.

Re:Wait a minute... (0, Offtopic)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044383)

So did your pocketbook and bank.

Yes but what .. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044137)

..about overclocking it?

and what type of frame rate do you get with Quake?

Re:Yes but what .. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044164)

Eh, you could probably run the top 20 latest games at once, 10 instances each, all using complete software rendering (but emulating all the 3d hardware stuff) and have room to spare.

Holy crap my visual cortex just exploded thinking about that.

Re:Yes but what .. (1)

teh_mykel (756567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044243)

ooh, no. the toppest 20 games run on windows (dont start about WINE, cause those figures arent achieveable under emulation). you cant forget the extra 120% windows overhead. obviously, you will have huge difficulties running ntoskrnl.exe AND CoD.exe

Re:Yes but what .. (2, Funny)

OccidentalSlashy (809265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044169)

Does it make the Internet faster?

Re:Yes but what .. (5, Funny)

OneDeeTenTee (780300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044700)

and what type of frame rate do you get with Quake?

It speculatively pre-renders every possible frame for the next 90 seconds.

Re:Yes but what .. (1)

drfishy (634081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044828)

LOL! Where are mt mod points when I need them? :D

Terri dead at mental age of negative 4 mos. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044175)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - right-wing pawn Terry Schiavo was found dead in her Florida hospice this morning. She died in the same way she had lived her entire life; brain dead and starved. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss her - even if you didn't enjoy her drooling, uncontrollable bowel discharges and random grunts, there's no denying her contributions as a fund raising meat-poster for the Christian right. Truly an American icon.

Math Error? (5, Insightful)

mothlos (832302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044185)

Roughly as expected, BlueGene/L can now crank away at 135.3 trillion floating point operations per second (teraflops), up from the 70.72 teraflops it was doing at the end of 2004. BlueGene/L now has half of its planned processors and is more than half way to achieving its design goal of 360 teraflops.



Is it just me or is 135.3 * 2 < 360 / 2?

Re:Math Error? (2, Informative)

pacslash (784042) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044208)

135.3 * 2 = 271 360 / 2 = 180 It's just you.

Re:Math Error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044214)

No... !(270.6 180). 270.6 360, thats for sure.

Re:Math Error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044265)

"Is it just me or is 135.3 * 2 360 / 2?"

Oh no! You found out their supercomputer's super-secret new technique twisting simple mathematical formulas into something human-like in its ability to become prone to error! Oh, the irony!

Re:Math Error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044326)

Is it just me or is 135.3 * 2 < 360 / 2?

Take out one of those steps with a 2 in it. Either 135.3 < 360/2, or 135.3 * 2 But your point seems valid. I don't see how they can be more than halfway there.

Re:Math Error? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044361)

Lets see if I can get this right. I'm going to talk a little bit out of my ass now, but here goes:

Every 512 node backplane has a peak of 1.4tflop/s according to their design doc.

The 32k system benched in at 70. The theoretical peak was 91, so the actual performance is about 77 percent of the peak, which is pretty normal.

The 64k system benched in at 135. The peak should be around 182, so that is 74 percent of the peak.

The design goal is for 360 at 64k. I'm guessing that 360 is the peak, because my rough estimate calculations put the of 64k nodes at about 364. Lets be nice and assume 70% of peak in the actual machine. That would indicate around 255tflop/s at 64k nodes of actual performance, assuming the thing scales at about the same rate.

So, they got their math right as long as they are claiming a peak of 360. That's a theoretical max, and so never actually reached. The actual is notably less. My numbers are estimates, and so 364 not equalling 360 doesn't bother me much in the end.

Anyone care to correct anything?

Also, can someone explain to me why Cray's Redstorm won't kick this things ass performance wise. Redstorm should have 10k processors, but they are 64bit Opteron 2.4ghz processors with 4x the ram per node. These, I believe, are 700mhz processors.

I'm confused because Redstorm only has a theoretical peak of about 40tflops off the 10k nodes. IBM's system at 10k should have a peak at around 30tflops. I'm wondering how 64bit opterons at more than 3x the speed could only be 10flops faster at 10k nodes than 700mhz 32bit PPCs with 1/4 the ram. Can someone please explain?

Also, anyone know why IBM isn't using HPCC. Cray has been using it for the XD1s. I'm guessing the reason IBM hasn't posted results is because they can't even come close in sustained memory bandwidth, mpi latency, and other tests. That's just a guess though. I'd love to hear from someone that actually knows about this stuff.

Why BlueGene kicks RedStorm's ass on Linpack (4, Informative)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 9 years ago | (#12046211)

Well, it comes down to a few different things.

First off, Opterons are pretty mediocre at double precision floating point benchmarks, it just isn't what they were designed for. Opterons effectively have only a single FPU (technically they have two, but one only does addition, while the other handles all multiplies), while most competing chips in the HPC arena have two full FPUs. They tend to get spanked by PPCs and Itanium2s, and even Xenons can do better.

Also, you should note that the modified PPC440s in BlueGene have a disproportionate amount of floating point resources. Making them about equivalent to the 970 in that area mhz for mhz, despite being massively outclassed in integer and vector ops. And the floating point units on those 440s are full 64-bit units (as fpus are on many other ostensibly 32 bit chips, as the bit width of a fpu has nothing to do with the integer units and mmus being 32-bit). Plus the PPC has a fused multiply-add instruction, allowing it to theoretically finish 2 FLOPS/unit/cycle, instead of just one.

And finally, you should know that individual nodes' ram sizes matter very little for Linpack.

When you take all that together, it's not too surprising that 700Mhz PPC440s with 2 64-bit FPUs each finishing up to 2 FLOPs/cycle (at least 2 of which must be adds) would perform on par with 2.xGhz Opterons finishing a total of 2FLOPs/cycle (at least one of which has to be an add).

Re:Math Error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044397)

Because a computer is more than the sum of its processors?

There are other components too, and perhaps they have all that they need already.

Re:Math Error? (2, Informative)

RaffiRai (870648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044931)

I might fathom that the layout/grid computing data-flow arrangement might have as much, if not more, effect than the sheer number of processors when you're workong on something like that.

It seems to me that since the device isn't complete the data management isn't working under optimal conditions.

But does it ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044206)

... run Linux?

Wait another year... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044216)

That's like, what, 527 Cell processors?

Obviously that number's based on an unrealistic, 100% efficient scaling factor. But still. The 137 TFlop is coming from 64,000 processors.

It's fun to think about what's just around the corner.

Re:Wait another year... (2, Insightful)

Shag (3737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044282)

Well yeah, it's a lot of processors. But that's part of the point - these are very low-power, practically embedded-spec, PowerPC chips, so IBM can throw N+1 of them into a system and wind up with something that uses less power than one Big Complex Chip from a competing supplier, yet computes faster, or something like that.

Given the size and complexity of the Cell, 527 of them might present some cooling problems. (Or cogeneration opportunities, if you hook a good liquid cooling system to a steam turbine...)

4 words: "Toy Story-quality graphics" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044578)

Take Sony's marketing with a grain of salt.

Re:Wait another year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044843)

Big deal. I'll have this in my wristwatch in a few years. ;)

Re:Wait another year... (2, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045127)

Well, too be fair, cell uses some fairly stoned tricks to get to that kind of peak power. (the massive memory bandwith is only to small local memories (everywhere else you would call them cache) and the main memory bandwith is laughable compared to the computing resources.
Although linpack is very nice to parallize, i dont think it would be possible to even get 10% of the theoretical rate on a cell.

Re:Wait another year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12045166)

The theoretical max of the PS3 (600 GFlops?) is for single precision, not double.

Faster processors? (1)

Visaris (553352) | more than 9 years ago | (#12046057)

I could be wrong, but I bet the reason you get double the performance when you double the number of processors is that they are not adding on more slow processors. They keey adding faster chips. This might be why it seems to scale so well.

Get that thing.... (2, Funny)

blobzorz (864386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044222)

Now to get that thing folding now...

No Beowulf Cluster Jokes? (0, Redundant)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044233)

Pity.

Re:No Beowulf Cluster Jokes? (0)

inKubus (199753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044251)

Uh, I tried [slashdot.org] , but I didn't have the heart to continue. I can't be that guy this time.

Re:No Beowulf Cluster Jokes? (0, Redundant)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044268)

Dont worry men ,I think I'm still a little tipsy from last night no so here goes..

In soviet Russia , a Beowulf cluster of these runs linux ... tada ..Awaits down moderation to the pits of hell

Mod parentt insightfull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044429)

Come on that was funny , moderators give it up.
Anyway it was insightfull as he said it would be moderated down

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044466)

? Oh please that was funny not redundant
Stop trolling with moderation points .
I'm posting anonymously to avoid a karma hit and blacklisting

-X

Re:No Beowulf Cluster Jokes? (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044276)

I find the timing of our messages to be funny as hell.

Imagine (0, Redundant)

inKubus (199753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044235)

A..........Beowulf.......

*sigh*

I guess I'm just a tired old whore.

Re:Imagine (1, Funny)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044308)

Imagine an exponential beowulf cluster.

Maybe it will be able to... (4, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044245)

...host a spell check for Slashdot! ...as being more indicative of how a HPC system will peform with various different types of applicatoins."

Re:Maybe it will be able to... (4, Funny)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044262)

I'm sure you mean a spelling checker. It's WoW that needs the spell check... combat resurrection for priests, anyone?!

Windows HPC (4, Funny)

Cruithne (658153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044279)

Oh man, I *so* wanna put Windows HPC on this thing!

Re:Windows HPC (2, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044644)

You'll probably need it if you want to turn on the eye candy in Longhorn...

Re:Windows HPC (2, Interesting)

Jules Labrie (756572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044702)

Well, if you had Windows on this machine (but be serious, please !)... This would only be one every 64 nodes. I explain why.

Blue Gene is known to run Linux. True, but... In fact, there are two types of nodes in Blue Gene. The computing nodes and the IO nodes. There is 1 IO node for 63 computing nodes. So for a 64000 nodes cluster, there are in fact only 1000 processors that runs Linux. The other 63000 are running an ultra light runtime environment (with MPI and other essential things) to maximize the speed. Even Linux is too heavy for that ! So windows would maybe not make the performances so bad... But I don't believe IBM didn't ever considered this option !

Can it...? (0, Offtopic)

smartsaga (804661) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044296)

Play pacman at full speed??? and render it in software mode??? at full screen???

No way!!!!!

Now THAT would be amazing, wouldn't it?

Your teraflops are belong to us... get it?

Have a good one.

Re:Can it...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044539)

it not funny when you ask if we "get it."

your comicflops are belong to nobody

have a good one

--
oh where did the time go
quake -winlock -winmem 16

Cell vs HPC (5, Insightful)

adam31 (817930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044302)

The HPC Challenge benchmark is especially interesting and I think sheds some light on the design goals IBM had in coming up with the Cell.

1) Solving linear equations. SIMD Matrix math, check.
2) DP Matrix-Matrix multiplies. IBM added DP support to their VMX set for Cell (though at 10% the execution rate), check.
3) Processor/Memory bandwidth. XDR interface at 25.6 GB/s, check.
4) Processor/Processor bandwidth. FlexIO interface at 76.8 GB/s, check.
5) "measures rate of integer random updates of memory", hmmmm... not sure.
6) Complex, DP FFT. Again, DP support at a price. check.
7) Communication latency & bandwidth. 100 GB/s total memory bandwidth, check (though this could be heavily influenced on how IBM handles its SPE threading interface)

Obviously, I'm not saying they used the HPC Challenge as a design document, but clearly Cell is meant as a supercomputer first and a PS3 second.

Re:Cell vs HPC (0)

AoT (107216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044406)

This is the new PS3?

Damn, they are way outclassing Microsoft on this one.

Re:Cell vs HPC (1)

Infinite Entropy (870073) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045051)

Im sorry, but DP at only 10% of SP seems utterly useless to me.

Re:Cell vs HPC (2, Informative)

Flaming Death (447117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045096)

Yeah it is, until you realise SP runs at 256 Gflops.. so even at a modest 25 Gflops it out performs most cores quite well. Cells are obviously built for clusters/multiple connected cores though.. theoretically then you only need 5,400 odd cores to get the same 136 Tflop caps.. (I refer to cores here, since most incarnations are going to have 2, 4, 8 or 16 cells onboard) .. still a fairly decent improvement..

Re:Cell vs HPC (3, Interesting)

shizzle (686334) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045074)

2) DP Matrix-Matrix multiplies. IBM added DP support to their VMX set for Cell (though at 10% the execution rate), check.
[...]
...clearly Cell is meant as a supercomputer first and a PS3 second.
I think you've refuted your own argument there: double precision floating point performance is critical for true supercomputing. (In supercomputing circles DP and SP are often referred to as "full precision" and "half precision", respectively, which should give you a better idea of how they view things.)

In contrast, SP is plenty of accuracy for things like rendering and game physics, since (very loosely speaking) as long as you're within a fraction of a pixel of the right answer you don't need any more accuracy.

I'd say the Cell architecture is very well suited for supercomputing as well as gaming, but the announced Cell implementation appears to me to be clearly targeted at the PS3. They'll have to come out with a "Cell HPC Edition" that has much better DP performance before they take over supercomputing. Not that I don't expect that they're working on that as we speak...

Re:Cell vs HPC (1)

Jameth (664111) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045117)

"Obviously, I'm not saying they used the HPC Challenge as a design document, but clearly Cell is meant as a supercomputer first and a PS3 second."

I'd say it seems a lot more like they thought a supercomputer would be kickass for running a PS3 and designed it accordingly.

I wonder... (1, Funny)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044353)

1.) How many frames/sec is that in Counter-Strike?
2.) How about CS:S?
3.) If Apache 2 were installed on it, could it survive a slashdotting?
4.) How fast could it run Avida?

Pics (4, Informative)

identity0 (77976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044355)

I found it odd that there aren't any pics of the machine on those sites, so I looked around... Here are some pics [ibm.com] of the prototype at top, and the finished version at bottom. It looks like it's going to be in classic "IBM black", like the 2001 monolith : )

Some more pics [ibm.com] of the prototype.

For comparison, the Earth simulator [jamstec.go.jp] and big mac [vt.edu] .

Anyone know what kind of facilities blue gene will be housed at? The one for the earth simulator looks like something out of a movie, IBM better be able to compete on the 'cool factor'. : )

And does anyone else get the warm and fuzzy feelings from looking at these pics, even though there's nothing you could possibly use that much power for? Ahhh, power...

Re:Pics (1)

photonic (584757) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044521)

I believe they will ship the first of these monsters to Livermore to simultate nukes and other deadly stuff. Number 2 will go to the Lofar [lofar.org] project. It is basically one huge phased array radio telescope with a diameter of 300 kilometer. Just connect some 10000 simple low frequency (~100 MHz) antennas with big fiber pipes to a central computer and do the beam pointing and imaging all in software.

Re:Pics (2, Insightful)

mankei (248730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044699)

> And does anyone else get the warm and fuzzy feelings from looking at these pics, even though there's nothing you could possibly use that much power for?

Someone told me that it took the Earth simulator about a week to simulate air flow past a truck. I get warm and fuzzy feelings by simply looking at stuff around myself and appreciating the mind-boggling complexity of Mother Nature.

Re:Pics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12045785)

I work at IBM in Rochester Minnesota where the machines are built and housed and I have seen the machines that are being shipped around and installed at Lawrence Livermore and other places... it is an awesome sight. VERY LOUD with the hugs fans above it, and the floor in the building had to be dug down 4 feet to allow for the cabling and air ducts to run underneath everything. What most surprised me is not how fast it is, but how well they were able to get it to scale by using fairly low power processors. The power is not in the processors in it, which are low power to conserve electrocity and heat, but in how amazingly well it scales.

Not intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044368)

135.3 Teraflops sounds very nice, but the achievement won't mean anything to me until I hear how many LoCs it can wipe its ass with per second.

But What about the Crays? (1)

Caladain (850457) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044422)

How do these compare to the Cray Supercomputers? Last I checked, Cray was top-dog and everyone else was fighting for second place. I mean, it's cool that you can get 135.3 Teraflops out of the BlueGene, but the Cray X1E delievers up to 147 TFLOPS in a single system. Am I just confused and lost?

Re:But What about real machines ? (1)

Bonnie the Bonnie (870706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044517)

As in : how many 3Ghz P4 is that ? Or : how many 100Mhz Pentiums (yes 586) how many Sinclair Spectrum 48 ? how many ZX81 ?

A graph would be neat (but I'd settle with a power of ten) :-)

It would give an idea of when we'll get that kind of power at home - and don't tell me we'll never know what to do with it...

Re:But What about the Crays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044529)

You are just confused and lost.

Re:But What about the Crays? (2, Interesting)

yennieb (692654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044572)

You're confused and lost. According to the top 500 rankings referenced by the article, the highest ranking Cray (an X1) puts out less than 6 TFLOPS.

So try... a cluster of 25+ X1s and then we'll talk =)!

Re:But What about the Crays? (4, Informative)

Hungry Admin (703839) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044639)

Not all problems are going to be solved faster by parallel computation. Some problems will be better solved on the 6 Tflop machine than with 10,000 slower CPUs.

Re:But What about the Crays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044960)

Bluegene cores are hardly "slower CPUs".

Re:But What about the Crays? (1)

TimeZone (658837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045828)

You're confused and lost. When was the last time you checked? 2000? Cuz that's the last time Cray was anywhere near the top (June 2000, there were a handful of Cray T3Es placed in the top 10, with just under 1TF each).

TZ

serious 2 cents ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044581)

so if i sit at my computer desk long enough
i won't be able to reach my mouse anymore,
and ping times to slashdot are increasing.
one day i won't be able to reach the site
at all, since the server has moved or
accelerated to near light speed and is
moving away from my computer ...
anyway, what is intriguing for me i guess
is that atoms are made up of protons
and neutrons ... i think ... or was it
moleculs? but as far as anybody can tell
lone neutrons decay at half time of 12
minutes(?), while protons are indestructable.
so has anybody check exactly if the whole
chain of changing electrons into neutrons
and neutrinos and protons into anti protons
and the like is acctually balanced? yeah yeah,
overall in the universe one cannot create
or destroy charges (magnetic or something),
but if the whole "birth" and "dead" cycle
of all particles evolves towards a certain
configuration, say in few million years
there will be less neutrons but more protons and
electrons, maybe after the big band and it
evolution from basic particles to complex
atoms (like plutonium?) it will "de-evolve"
back to flimsy particles, say hydrogen...
maybe? anyone ...

Re:serious 2 cents ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044588)

sorry .. wrong window :P

Pi (1)

jon855 (803537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044642)

I wonder how many decmial place this IBM Monster will be able to compute in 24 hours? A trillion? I hope more... It would be awesome if it figure then trillion ^ trillion th Prime Number in a day.

More than Teraflops (2, Interesting)

gtsili (178803) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044690)

What it would also be interesting is the power consumption and heat production figures of those systems when idle and under heavy load and also the load statistics.

In other words what is the cost in the quest for performance?

Can anyone please... (2)

camcorder (759720) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044704)

...explain why those genetic reseach need that much amount of cpu power? What calculations take that long to process so they need to build fastest computers. And also, are they sure that the programmers working at research labs are optimizing thier codes effectively so maybe the work done on those computers can be done w/ 1/4th of that current power?

Re:Can anyone please... (3, Informative)

kromozone (817261) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044768)

Think of all the charges in a protein composed of hundreds of amino acids, each composed of dozens of atoms. Now imagine those charges ineracting during protein folding, in a solution. Let's say that process takes a few miliseconds. Now imagine modeling this process at the femtosecond resolution. This system is severely underpowered.

Re:Can anyone please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12044778)

What genetic research?. This bad boy will probably be used for nuclear simulations at Los Alamos.

Simulating nuclear blasts and not having to blow things up / release radiation is where its at.

I wonder if this will do the trick, How much of a nuclear explosion could you simulate on a machine like this.

Re:Can anyone please... (1)

Johan Veenstra (61679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044856)

> And also, are they sure that the programmers working
> at research labs are optimizing thier codes effectively

Good programmers are cheap compared to computation time on one of those machines. The electric bill alone is nothing to sneeze at.

Could encourage poor products? (2, Insightful)

mcraig (757818) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044721)

So what do people think assuming speeds continue to leap ahead in the desktop arena, will it simply encourage further sloppy programming. After all if the choice is to optimise your product for a month to save a few Gigaflops or get it out into the market and so what if its a bit resource hungry, I imagine many teams will get pushed to release sooner rather than later.

One in every home (2, Interesting)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044770)

Several decades ago, a computer filled an entire room, and "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" [thinkexist.com]

A few decades ago, people thought Bill Gates was wrong when he reckoned there would soon be a time when there was a computer in every home.

Now, a supercomputer fills an entire room. So how long before someone reckons that there will come a time when there will be a supercomputer in every home?

Re:One in every home (1)

isecore (132059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044809)

So how long before someone reckons that there will come a time when there will be a supercomputer in every home?

According to Apple [apple.com] that era was launched a long time ago.

Re:One in every home (1)

doppe1 (856394) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045495)

So how long before someone reckons that there will come a time when there will be a supercomputer in every home?

Then it won't be considered 'super' any more, as there will be even faster computers out there.

Re:One in every home (2, Informative)

TheRealFoxFire (523782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12046174)

The definition of a supercomputer is a moving line. At any given time, a supercomputer is usually just a machine with an order of magnitude more CPU throughput than a PC. This neglects things supercomputers have that desktops don't like massive I/O capabilities, but in terms of CPU performance, today's desktops are usually as fast as the past's supercomputers.

Re:One in every home (1)

theManInTheYellowHat (451261) | more than 9 years ago | (#12046258)

In many respects we already do. If you have a any assortment of modern tech gear you are close to what a supercomputer would have been a few years ago.

I have a 2 notebooks, a dual processor linux machine, an iMac and a TiVo. All networked and could be turned into a number cruncher with out much difficulty.

Granted it does not compare to any modern supercomputer but it is close to 1996 >$200,000 computer.

hpc test? other types of apps? (2, Interesting)

Bongzilla (458471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044878)

I think the whole point of using a machine of this size is that you write your custom application specifically with it in mind. I would be highly surprised if after leasing one, or a share on one, IBM doesn't provide documentation on how to create an application which takes advantage of the machine's architecture.

Top 500 and Auto Racing (4, Insightful)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12044916)

It could be that the competition for the top of the 500 slot is becoming less of technological achievement and more of just who has the most $$$ to spend. Just like auto racing used to be about improvements in engines and transmissions etc but after a point everybody could make a faster car just by buying more commonly available, well known technology than the other guys. So they put in limitations for the races, only so big a venturi, displacement, etc.

Anyway, my point is - it's becoming just "I can afford more processors than you can so I win" instead of the heyday of Seymore Cray when you really had to be talented to capture the #1 spot from IBM.

Re:Top 500 and Auto Racing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12045159)

I'd beg to differ: wasn't one of the cooler things about bigmac that it cost so much less than any of the other supercomputers out there? That's a huge technological achievement if you ask me.

Re:Top 500 and Auto Racing (5, Informative)

ShadowFlyP (540489) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045710)

I think your comparison here is quite unfair to the technological accomplishments of BlueGene/L. This is not simply a case of IBM "throwing more processors" at the problem, but BlueGene is a technological leap over other supercomputers. Not only is BlueGene faster, than for instance the Earth Simulator, but it also consumes FAR LESS power (which in turn minimizes the energy wasted cooling the thing) and takes up much less space. From an article published when BlueGene first overcame the Earth Simulator: "Blue Gene/L's footprint is one per cent that of the Earth Simulator, and its power demands are just 3.6 per cent of the NEC supercomputer." http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/29/supercompu ter_ibm/ So, I say to you, NO! The top 500 race is not simply big companies throwing money at a problem (well, it sort of is), but there is quite a lot of technical accomplishment going on here. You could argue that the people involved may not have the brilliance of Seymore, but they sure do have real talent.

Since we are talking about benchmarks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12045671)

... what performance benchmark would be appropriate for workstations and small servers (2 to 4 processors)? Have you used some performance benchmark before? Which ones have you liked the most?

Another Benchmark (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 9 years ago | (#12045869)

I was wondering if a test of loading OpenOffice.org writer would be usefull?

Weather forecasts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12046036)

Great! We can use it to get inaccurate weather forecasts twice as fast!

Scalar performance -- Unimpressed! (3, Interesting)

tarpitcod (822436) | more than 9 years ago | (#12046121)

What's the scalar performance of one of these beasties?

Can an Athlon 64 / P4 beat it on scalar code? The whole HPC world has gotten boring since Cray died. Here's why I say that:

The Cray 1 had the best SCALAR and VECTOR performance in the world.

The Cray 2 was an ass kicker, the Cray 3 was a real ass kicker (if only they could build them reliably).

Cray pushed the boundaries, he pushed them too far at some points -- designing and trying to build machines that they couldn't make reliable.

So it'll be a cold day in hell before I get all fired up over the fact that someone else managed to glue together a bazillion 'killer micros' and win at Linpack...
Now if someone would bring back the idea of transputers, or we saw some *real* efforts at Dataflow and FP then I'd be excited. I'd love a PC with 8 small, simple, fast, in-order tightly bound cpus. Don't say CELL, all indications are that they will be a *real* PITA to program to get any decent performance out of.

Re:Scalar performance -- Unimpressed! (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12046308)

I did some work on the Cray T3D and T3E and liked them fairly well. There were some "tricks" to the T3D but the T3E fixed them and was a decent machine.
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