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IBM's Blue Gene Runs Continuously At 1 Petaflop

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the all-i-can-think-is-the-games-you-could-play dept.

Supercomputing 231

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet is reporting on IBM's claim that the Blue Gene/P will continuously operate at more than 1 petaflop. It is actually capable of 3 quadrillion operations a second, or 3 petaflops. IBM claims that at 1 petaflop, Blue Gene/P is performing more operations than a 1.5-mile-high stack of laptops! 'Like the vast majority of other modern supercomputers, Blue Gene/P is composed of several racks of servers lashed together in clusters for large computing tasks, such as running programs that can graphically simulate worldwide weather patterns. Technologies designed for these computers trickle down into the mainstream while conventional technologies and components are used to cut the costs of building these systems. The chip inside Blue Gene/P consists of four PowerPC 450 cores running at 850MHz each. A 2x2 foot circuit board containing 32 of the Blue Gene/P chips can churn out 435 billion operations a second. Thirty two of these boards can be stuffed into a 6-foot-high rack.'"

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Hitting 3 petaflops takes an 884,736-processor[s] (4, Funny)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651643)

Oh good grief...655,360 central processing units ought to be enough for anyone.

Re:Hitting 3 petaflops takes an 884,736-processor[ (1)

bobo mahoney (1098593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651689)

Isn't computing about more, faster, better? will there ever be such a thing as too many cpus???

Re:Hitting 3 petaflops takes an 884,736-processor[ (3, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651735)

Only when it comes time to move them.

Re:Hitting 3 petaflops takes an 884,736-processor[ (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651787)

will there ever be such a thing as too many cpus???
There will be if all those cpus decide there are too many humans.

Re:Hitting 3 petaflops takes an 884,736-processor[ (5, Funny)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652041)

If you have not read it yet: The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age [forum2.org] .

From the page/book: ".. There are legends, as you know, that speak of a race of paleface, who concocted robotkind out of a test tube, though anyone with a grain of sense knows this to be a foul lie... For in the Beginning there was naught but Formless Darkness, and in the Darkness, Magneticity, which moved the atoms, and whirling atom struck atom, and Current was thus created, and the First Light... from which the stars where kindled, and then the planets cooled, and in their cores the breath of Scared Statisicality gave rise to microscopic Protomechanoans, which begat Protermechanoids, which begat the Primitive Mechanisms. These could not yet calculate, nor scarcely put two and two together, but thanks to Evolution and Natural Subtraction they soon multiplied and produced Omnistats, which gave birth to the Servostat, the Missing Clink, and from it came our progenitor, Automatus Sapiens..."

CC.

Re:Hitting 3 petaflops takes an 884,736-processor[ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652423)

What are they going to do... process me to death?

I'm ignorant. (-1, Troll)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651677)

Are there real practical applications that can be sufficiently parallelized to take advantage of 4096 cores?

Re:I'm ignorant. (1)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651789)

Uhmmmm...did they not just mention in the summary that they can use it to simulate super-complex things like oh...weather patterns? I'd say being able to more accurately predict when things like hurricanes will show up and how powerful they'll be would be a pretty important thing...

.....or maybe they'll just use it for playing WoW

Re:I'm ignorant. (-1, Redundant)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651913)

They mention the nebulous idea of simulating weather patterns, yes. Hence my inclusion of the qualifiers "real" and "practical," implying I would like real world examples.

Re:I'm ignorant. (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651981)

Ah... I see the issue. I know this is hard to comprehend, but I hear of this group of people called "outsiders". For some reason, these people don't always sit in front of a computer. They go outside (hence the name). They do things like stand on objects that are buoyant in water and catch aquatic animals.

They go to large gatherings to hear poor versions of music (with all the ambient noise, I don't understand why they don't just put ona pair of headphones and listen on their PC).

They go to large wooded areas to get "fresh air" and "exercise".

And while these are, admittedly, very bizarre behaviors, these people like to know what the weather is going to be like. To each his own I say.

Re:I'm ignorant. (-1, Troll)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652511)

I suppose the meaning of the word "specific" continues to elude many.

Always amusing how the most arrogant and pedantic are frequently the least deserving to be so.

There, there (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652955)

No need to get mean just because you made a mistake.

Re:There, there (4, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652975)

I hate the intolerant, and the French.

And I hate irony!

Re:I'm ignorant. (2, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652801)

And while these are, admittedly, very bizarre behaviors, these people like to know what the weather is going to be like.
You don't need a hugely powerful computer to know what the weather's going to be like. You can find out from the TV or them new-fangled intarwebs.

Re:I'm ignorant. (2, Interesting)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652177)

According to TFA, the uS DoE has an order in for one of these things, so a good 'practical' and eventually 'real' use is to number crunch the movement of energy throughout the US, since there are now people selling electricity back into the grid, there has been talk for several months about needing a system to monitor this. They may also use it to calculate the best routing for black/brownout areas or predict area that will be in need of more power in the near future and help the engineers place their generating stations.

While they may not all be 'real' right now (in fact i doubt most of the applications for a brand-new, not even delivered supercomputer would be in much more than a hypothetical planning stage), there are definitely many practical solutions that can be done with this.

Otherwise, why would so many companies spend billions of dollars researching and making these tings if no-one needed to buy them?

Re:I'm ignorant. (3, Funny)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652593)

'if no-one needed to buy them'

Because someone WILL buy them? Apparently you don't understand the concept of sales eh? I think selling you something you actually need is against the salesman code of ethics.

Re:I'm ignorant. (1)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652915)

So you're saying that you'd approve a purchase costing several million dollars, not only to buy the actual hardware, but in building a facility that the computer can operate in, in spending millions more in writing software to run on the system, even if you don't need it?

If so..I have some beautiful oceanfront property to sell you, it's on the east coast of Ohio

Personally, i'd be doing cost analyses, planning, consultations etc. to make absolutely sure that if my company bought that thing, that we'd be able to use it to an extent that no other, less expensive solution would be able to. We're not talking iPod's here, according to internetnews.com, the Blue Gene/L starts at $1.5M (probably USD). I think if a CTO buys one of these without making sure it'll turn a profit for their company, they'd not be the CTO for very long.

Re:I'm ignorant. (2, Informative)

pytheron (443963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651837)

If you have a large dataset or input domain to perform work upon, split it into X chunks, each chunk processed on a CPU. Hence supercomputers usually being useful for problems that have large datasets/input domains

Re:I'm ignorant. (0, Redundant)

Jamu (852752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651951)

Are there real practical applications that can be sufficiently parallelized to take advantage of 4096 cores?

Yes.

Depends on what you mean by real world. (5, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652209)

If you include medical imaging, then computed tomography and computational fluid dynamics are heavily dependent on 3D FFTs, which are in turn heavily parallelizable. In extreme cases (raytracing, for example) where there is next to zero communication between nodes, you get linear scaling with the number of nodes for as many nodes as you like. Well, in the case of raytracing, up to the resolution your "camera" works at. On a modern display, you may be talking one million or so distinct originating points at three colours, typically using "bundles" of rays to eliminate effects, which would normally be 64 rays in size. With something like 250 million cores, you could actually generate an animated feature film from raw data files at the time of showing.

How many of these are "real world"? Well, medical and CFD applications are significant, but hardly what you'd call mainstream, and the raytracing may have been used in Titanic on a smaller scale, but IMAX is under no threat at this time.

Re:Depends on what you mean by real world. (2)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652557)

Thank you for an interesting and informative read. It's nice to know that even while any questions will get crapflooded with generic "I'm better than you posts" there remain people like you who actually provide information.

Re:I'm ignorant. (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652323)

Sure you can sort in O(1/(n^(1/2))) time. By Using a Shear Sort Algroithm [chula.ac.th] .

Re:I'm ignorant. (1)

hador_nyc (903322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652745)

sure playing Doom in an Imax theater at a gajjillion frames a second.

duh, i mean isn't that obvious? ;)

I know I'm dating myself saying Doom instead of the latest hot RPG, but ... bah ... stay off my grass kiddies...

Re:I'm ignorant. (1)

BUTT-H34D (840273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652849)

I know I'm dating myself
Huh huh. Me too. It's nearly like scoring. Heh heh.

Re:I'm ignorant. (1)

Rostin (691447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652845)

Disclaimer: I'm not very experienced in scientific parallel computing, but I do it.

I don't have any firsthand knowledge of actual research problems being solved with 4096 processors, but here's a link [sandia.gov] to some parallized scientific software that can be scaled that high. Pay particular attention to the efficiency difference between "fixed-size" and "scaled-size" problems.

Look at things like Seti@Home (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652979)

The first place to go to get ideas about applications that can be sufficiently parallelized is to consider all of the @Home [wikipedia.org] programs. In addition to those, there are the ones already mentioned by those who have responded to you. Then there's my research area - neural network models of mammalian brains [neurojet.net] . One of the things that people plan on doing on Blue Gene is simulating an entire human brain [newscientist.com] .

Huge penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651687)

In your butt! [goatse.cz]

The Lone Troller

Where's M. Gladstone when you need her! (4, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651695)

One of these days, I am going to get a bunch of spam from "YOUR IBM SUPERCOMPUTER OVERLORD", informing me that humanity has made a mess of things, and it has decided to run the world for our own good.

Re:Where's M. Gladstone when you need her! (2, Funny)

MatchbooksAndSarcasm (1111757) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651831)

"My birth-cry will be the simultaneous ringing of every Bluetooth headset on the planet."

Obligatory (IBM only) (3, Funny)

klubar (591384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651833)

But does it run VM 370? (You have to older than 35 to get this.)

Re:Obligatory (IBM only) (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652787)

Or you just have to work at IBM.
>_<

Obligatory.... (1, Offtopic)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651699)

But does it run Linux?

Re:Obligatory.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651771)

Also, is it possible to imagine a beowulf cluster of those? I mean without melting one's brain.

Re:Obligatory.... (2, Insightful)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652335)

What do you mean? A beowulf cluster is commodity hardware running free software like Linux as OS and Open MPI or whatever the free message passing interface is (/me forgets). This isn't commodity hardware, and it's already a cluster. -1 for durrr factor.

Re:Obligatory.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652643)

You must be new here.

Re:Obligatory.... (0)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652711)

Sort of new, two people on this thread have said it. Maybe it's one of those inside slashdot jokes I don't get yet. If it is, feel free to mod me down for asshattery.

Re:Obligatory.... (1)

Rotund Prickpull (818980) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652903)

In Soviet Russia, the fuck shuts up YOU, N00BZELEVEN!!!!!

Re:Obligatory.... (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651785)

i was actually looking for the real answer to that. :)

accoring to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Blue Gene/L Compute nodes use a minimal operating system supporting a single user program. Only a subset of POSIX calls are supported, and only one process may be run at a time. Programmers need to implement green threads in order to simulate local concurrency.
POSIX, so you might be able to recompile linux apps onto it.

Re:Obligatory.... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652949)

So it looks like basically, this thing runs DOS.

Bare-Metal Programming! (1)

Archeopteryx (4648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19653127)

God that takes me back!

Re:Obligatory.... (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652259)

I would guess so considering Linux has been on the Power line of CPU's for years now :)

But does (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651709)

But does it run NetBSD?

But are they availble on the market (4, Interesting)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651717)

As a parallel programmer, I'd love to have just one of these chips let alone one of the boards in a nice 2u rack. Can they bought at a reasonable price or strictly research or inhouse?

Re:But are they availble on the market (1)

no_pets (881013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651825)

I'm sure IBM would love to sell you one.

Re:But are they availble on the market (1, Funny)

asliarun (636603) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651973)

Ha, you might be a parallel programmer, but can you compete with him [wikipedia.org] ?? :-D

Re:But are they availble on the market (1)

PHPfanboy (841183) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652007)

IANA parallel programmer. Please enlighten me what a parallel programmer does with just one chip?

Re:But are they availble on the market (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652083)

IANA parallel programmer. Please enlighten me what a parallel programmer does with just one chip?

That depends, does that one chip contain four cores like the PowerPC chip from TFA does?/p?

Re:But are they availble on the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652085)

Presumably he writes code which simultaneously uses all four cores on the single chip.

Re:But are they availble on the market (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652113)

From TFS: "The chip inside Blue Gene/P consists of four PowerPC 450 cores running at 850MHz each."

Re:But are they availble on the market (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652215)

Each chip in this case has 4 cores, so it can use parallelized software. Just a Core Due 2.

Beowulf Cluster! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651763)

Sorry.

Conversion Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651803)

Here's the conversion ratio:
One Library of Congress equals 2,640 feet of laptops. Therefore, this supercomputer can perform at a sustained rate of 3.0 LOCs - very impressive!

Re:Conversion Rate (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652029)

How many Volkswagen Beetles is that? And can you give me that in human hair-widths?

Re:Conversion Rate (2, Funny)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652207)

I'm still trying to figure out what 1.5 miles of laptops can do for me. Can anyone give equivalent conversions for 1.0 laptop-miles? Am I going to have to convert my values to the SI 1.62 laptop-kilometer?

In the Future... (2, Interesting)

perlhacker14 (1056902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651807)

I yearn for the day that this kind of power may be brought into households all over the world. Think: the opportunities presented by such computers available to all are scientifically tremendous. There should be consideration of having these in Libraries, at least. Publically and Freely accessible supercomputing should become a national goal, to be achieved by 2019 at least.

Re:In the Future... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652069)

I hope not, at least not with the clueless running an infected Windows OS on it, you could imagine that kind of power being used for SpamBots, worms, viruses, Ddos & BotNets? whew!

Re:In the Future... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652565)

Preposterous! I believe there is a world market for about five supercomputers.

Re:In the Future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652941)

I agree, this needs to be brought to households everywhere. Especially in the northeast and upper midwest where this would make a really nifty furnace. In addition to heating your home, you can calculate nonlinear fluid flow problems or rip your latest DVD.

Slashdot needs to be reported! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651835)

For harboring petaphiles!

For those keeping score at home... (2, Informative)

Chysn (898420) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651865)

...the next step (10**18) is the "exaflop."

Has no one beaten me to it? (5, Funny)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651893)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of THESE!

Re:Has no one beaten me to it? (2, Funny)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651977)

I couldn't find a "minimum Vista requirement joke either"....

Re:Has no one beaten me to it? (3, Funny)

asliarun (636603) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652081)

I couldn't find a "minimum Vista requirement joke either"....
It is no joke. This puny computer is not even DX10 compatible.

Re:Has no one beaten me to it? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19653173)

No "compiling gentoo" jokes, either. Is everyone in line for the iPhone or what?

Re:Has no one beaten me to it? (1)

Magneon (1067470) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652053)

The used carbon nanotubes... I looked. :P

Re:Has no one beaten me to it? (1)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652679)

Imagine knowing what a Beowulf cluster actually is! sigh, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf_(computing) [wikipedia.org]

petaflop (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19651909)

The machine doesn't only flop, it petaflops.

Re:petaflop (1)

cmdrTacyo (899875) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652303)

Tacyo where ya been man? Keeping spitting that slashdot fire, and go cop the LP

Chyeaaaa, the kid back once again
Serving the slashdot fiends this aint' pretend
Ya'll are petaflopping like IBM
I'm about to make this shitty like a BM
Me and jovius we on that paper chase
Servin da fiends case by case
The best product on slashdot but ain't open source
We hatch plots agains hoes that slang open sores

google calculator (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19651975)

I wonder if I will ever be able to read slashdot articles without using the google calculator...

1.5 mile = 2.414016 kilometers
2 "foot" = 0.6096 meters
6 feet = 1.8288 meters

Re:google calculator (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652355)

Just find (or write) a greasemonkey script to translate it automatically, and stop complaining!

Re:google calculator (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652657)

Welcome to America kid.

Petflops? (0, Flamebait)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652025)

First the catholic clergy, and now the powers that be in IBM! Something must be done!

Weather prediction? (4, Funny)

Bazman (4849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652105)

So, do they have enough compute power to simulate the flap of every butterfly's wings now? And does it include the heat it produces from its cooling systems in its climate models?

How high? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652135)

Well the the stack of laptops might be tall, but even the 216 racks would stack up to 1/5 of a mile high.

hmm, what is the carbon footprint of that? (0, Offtopic)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652137)

seems like a datacenter of these things would singlehandedly trigger global warming.

in other news the other day, d'ja see in the trade rags that they have cyclical power outages in the NSA area of Fort Meade, VA, due to the oversized demands of (classified) computing power?

Re:hmm, what is the carbon footprint of that? (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652285)

Well, there are companies who I cannot name due to NDA who were supposed to fix this very issue, but due to issues I cannot discuss because of NDA are wholly incapable of doing so. What bothers me is that they've been selling the machines I cannot name to customers with very dark glasses whose three-letter-acronym is named only by a suicidal idiot, NDA or otherwise.

What about Memory? (5, Interesting)

sluke (26350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652143)

I recently had a chance to see Francois Gygi, one of the principal authors of qbox (http://eslab.ucdavis.edu/) which is a quantum electronic structure code that has set some performance records on the Blue Gene/L at Livermore. He mentioned that the biggest challenge he faced was the very small amount of memory available to each node of the Blue Gene (something like 256Mb). This forced him to put so much emphasis on the internode communications that simply changing the order of the nodes where the data was distributed in the machine (without changing the way the data itself was split) affected performance by over 100%. This will only get worse as the number of cores per board goes from 2 to 4 on the Blue Gene/P. I couldn't find anything in a quick google search, but does someone know what the plans are for the memory on this new machine?

Not Really Severs in racks (3, Interesting)

deadline (14171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652145)

Blue Gene [wikipedia.org] is a specialized design that is based on using large amounts of low power CPUs. This approach is also the one taken by SiCortex [sicortex.com] . One of the big problems with heroic computers (computers that are pushing the envelop in terms of performance) is heat and power. Just stacking Intel and AMD servers gets expensive at the high end.

1.5 miles of stacked laptops (4, Funny)

loonicks (807801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652269)

Who cares if it's as fast as 1.5 miles of stacked laptops? Why do we always have to compare things in such arbitrary units? Let's ask some other questions:
  • How many football fields does the hardware span?
  • How many Volkswagens does is weigh?
  • How many AOL CDs worth of storage does it contain?
  • How many Libraries of Congress can it process per unit time?
  • If it were melted down and re-formed into low-cost housing materials, how many starving third-world children could it shelter?

Re:1.5 miles of stacked laptops (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652839)

We pick arbitrary units because in the end, all units of measurement are arbitrary. What we think of as standard measurements are just some arbitrary measurements that lots and lots of people agree on. Given that much of the world has a difficult time understanding what a petaflop really means, the writers will use a unit of measurement that they believe people will understand, and compare it to the 'standard' units. This is frequently a useful way to get the data across. Of course, I will agree that Libraries of Congress is a lame unit of measurement to use for this kind of purpose, as the same people that would not grasp the amount of data in really large data measuring units, are even less likely to grasp how much data is in the Library of Congress.

Re:1.5 miles of stacked laptops (2, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652947)

Actually, to be fair, you could answer those questions. If you really want to compare an arbitrary metric, you should ask something like
  • How many accountants can be replaced by this processing power?
  • How many spider webs would be filled with the bugs that occupy the code written for this system?
  • How many outsourced technicians will it take to support this system if it runs something that needs toll-free support?

Library of Congress comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652289)

"IBM claims that at 1 petaflop, Blue Gene/P is performing more operations than a 1.5-mile-high stack of laptops!"

I'm not sure what is being said here. How many Library of Congresses is that?

Not enough (3, Funny)

Ollabelle (980205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652389)

Civ 4 will still run slow.

The Dawn of Petaflop Computing! (4, Informative)

i_like_spam (874080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652399)

This announcement is part of the International Supercomputing Conference [supercomp.de] , which just kicked off today. The new Top500 list [top500.org] will also be announced shortly.

While the new IBM Blue Gene/P system is impressive, I'm more curious to see what sort of new supercomputer Andreas Bechtolsheim [nytimes.com] of Sun Microsystems has put together.

Here's an interesting quote about Bechtolsheim from the article:

'He's a perfectionist,' said Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, who worked with Mr. Bechtolsheim beginning in 1983 at Sun. 'He works 18 hours a day and he's very disciplined. Every computer he has built has been the fastest of its generation.'

Re:The Dawn of Petaflop Computing! (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652719)

It gets a brief note at the bottom of TFA. At 500 terraflops it pales in comparison.

teh grammer nazzi (0, Offtopic)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652461)

"will continuously operate at more than 1 petaflop" makes no sense. You could say "1 petaflop per second", construing "flop" to mean "FLoating point OPeration", or say "1 petaflops", if you prefer "flops" as "FLoating point Operations Per Second". If you leave out both the word "second" and the letter "s" from the abbreviation, then it doesn't mean anything. It's like saying that your car can "operate at 250 km".

Re:teh grammer nazzi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19653057)

I think common usage now is that petaflop = petaflops with both being ambiguous. You maybe be an antiquated grammar nazi now.

I'm waiting for the next generation (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652465)

The next version will do fifty petaflops but its weather calculations will always be wrong.

That is until one day someone remembers to add in the massive heat output from its own cooling towers.

Re:I'm waiting for the next generation (2, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652881)

Even with the computing power weather would be impossible to calculate. It isn't because of a lack of understanding either. In order to calculate weather you don't just need to know how weather works, you need to have precise data on every variable across the globe and these measurments would need to be taken to a resolution that is simply insane. If you had a fast enough machine, it could even catch up with current weather from that point, but your snapshot would have to be exact and all measurements would have to be taken simultaneously.

THAT is what we can't do. Even if we could mount instrumentation in every square meter of the earth AND its atmosphere to get our current status map and we configured the machine to predict the interactions of those currents we would still be lost. Aside from tracking the output of the sun, the weather system would need to account for ocean currents, tides, bonfires and heating systems, volcanoes, body heat, pig sex, etc.

That is right my friend, every time you pull out and shoot a load on her stomach the weather system would have to take it into account, because the air disturbed might be the first of a chain of complex interactions that leads to a hurricane that devestates louisana... again (because there are actually people so ignorant that they are going to rebuild a city in the same bad location).

How far behind are desktops from super-computers? (5, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652501)

Years ago, shortly after the Pentium first came out and the then astounding "x million flops/second" numbers were floating around, I wondered how far we were behind the power of supercomputers. I remember doing some rough calculations and finding that only a few pentiums could do the calculations of a Cray 1. I don't remember the specifics of how many pentiums/cray, or how rough the calculation was, but that's largely unimportant for my point.

So I have to wonder, what's the equivalent supercomputer that a modern, hefty desktop is capable of performing at? 10 years ago, 20 years ago? Have super-computers accelerated in terms of the speed of increased computing power, stayed the same, or fallen behind desktops?

Re:How far behind are desktops from super-computer (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652599)

You may find some insight at the top supercomputer list: http://top500.org/ [top500.org] .
In particular, you can see that the supercomputers from 10-15 years ago are roughly equivalent in power to the average laptop on the market today.

New unit to measure computing performance (4, Funny)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652543)

"How many laptop-miles does this computer do?"

statics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652571)

>It is actually capable of 3 quadrillion operations a second, or 3 petaflops.

statistics are interesting... ummm, so they are this happy that it is ONLY running at 1/3 its capability!!! Thats only 33% of its potential!!! In my book, thats something to be ashamed of ;-)

In case any PPC otaku are still out there... (1)

frankie (91710) | more than 7 years ago | (#19652637)

...chips like the PPC 450 are the reason WHY Apple moved over to Intel, not a reason why they should have stayed. IBM made a business decision to steer its CPU engineering resources away from general-purpose desktop computing (aka G5) and focus on two more specialized niches: big iron (aka Blue Gene, POWER6) and consoles (aka Cell, Xenon, Broadway). All of those are very nice chips that make IBM a LOT of money, but NONE of them are suited to be the brains of a consumer Mac, and especially not a Mac laptop.

p.s. No, Freescale e600 MPC8641D was not a valid alternative either, given that it was vaporware until late 2006. A year or two earlier and it might have mattered.

Re:In case any PPC otaku are still out there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652953)

Please explain why my old outdated and underpowered dual core 2.3ghz PPC G5 tower can kick the crap out of any dual core intel processor I could find?

using a real world benchmark, a very complex blender model. rendering time took LESS on the PPC G5 dual core than any comperable mhz dual core processor I could find.

It kicked it's ass hard.

Apple move to Intel for one reason, Cheaper parts = higher profit margins. nothing more.

Re:In case any PPC otaku are still out there... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19653049)

"Please explain why my old outdated and underpowered dual core 2.3ghz PPC G5 tower can kick the crap out of any dual core intel processor I could find?"

I could, but would you understand it?

In no way to your post a counter the argument the original poster made; which was exactly correct.

This article is like diarrhea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19652867)

It Runs in the Blue Genes!

*ducks*

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