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Iran Builds Supercomputer From Banned AMD Parts

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the maybe-they-fell-off-the-back-of-a-really-big-truck dept.

Supercomputing 778

Stony Stevenson writes with the news that, despite a ban on US PC hardware, Iranian techs have built an enormously powerful supercomputer from 216 AMD processors. The Linux-cluster machine has a 'theoretical peak performance of 860 gig-flops'. "The disclosure, made in an undated posting on [the University of] Amirkabir's Web site, brought an immediate response Monday from AMD, which said it has never authorized shipments of products either directly or indirectly to Iran or any other embargoed country."

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Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657675)

I say good now we can bomb them.

Bush is relieved... (5, Funny)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657705)

...he now has the justification for invading Iran.

Not only can they never be allowed to have nukes but it will be a cold day in hell before they are allowed to get the processing power to run Windows Vista!!!!!

Re:Bush is relieved... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657777)

Yeah, because now they have WMDs

Re:Bush is relieved... (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657999)

AMDs, WMDs... What's the difference, really?

Re:Bush is relieved... (4, Funny)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658187)

Windows of Mass destruction! I for one bow to our new Iraninan-Borg Overlord.

Re:Bush is relieved... (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657929)

but it will be a cold day in hell before they are allowed to get the processing power to run Windows Vista!!!!!

No worries - they still don't have enough horsepower for Vista ;)

Re:Bush is relieved... (5, Funny)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657987)

And, in the Vista licence, you can only run it on 2 or so processors, so in other news, MS is suing Iran for illegally using Vista.

Re:Bush is relieved... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658247)

But they're running Linux.

Now if we only had a Beowulf... ... owait.

Re:Bush is relieved... (5, Funny)

kscguru (551278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658427)

Oh, no worries, they're using Windows Vista Despot Edition. Unlimited processors, support for WMD simulation* (* = linear speed-up not guaranteed on Microsoft products), a new World Domination Wizard, and a customizable anti-American slogan at startup.

Not too hard (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657713)

Its not too hard to just buy a bunch of used PC and ship them there, is it?

Oh well. (1)

Tpl2000 (1174767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657717)

Why are they even banned from using US PC parts?

Re:Oh well. (5, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657771)

I think it falls under the "It's my ball, and I'm going home" set of rules.

Re:Oh well. (1)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657805)

Part of the sanctions put in place against them back during the Hostage Crisis...basically nothing that could be remotely considered as militarily useful is allowed to be shipped to Iran.

Actually, I believe the ban is even stronger than that...things like banking and such are banned as well...basically we don't like Iran, so we can't do business with them at all.

Re:Oh well. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657983)

Actually, I believe the ban is even stronger than that...things like banking and such are banned as well...basically we don't like Iran, so we can't do business with them at all.

That's ok. They're not allowed to bank with you anyways. They consider usury a sin.

Re:Oh well. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658019)

Which stops someone just driving over the border to the nearest country which doesn't have such sanctions and filling up their car with equipment... how exactly?

Re:Oh well. (2, Informative)

griffman99h (671362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658141)

"Which stops someone just driving over the border to the nearest country which doesn't have such sanctions and filling up their car with equipment... how exactly?" ...not much... hence the report that they have said supercomputer. someone made the trip. duh.

Re:Oh well. (4, Funny)

Arcturax (454188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658421)

I guess they went to the blowout sale for the CompUSA in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Re:Oh well. (1)

spazLizard (1093769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658135)

I think the banking restrictions are part of the more recent sanctions. As for hardware, I saw a episode of Law & Order last week (not sure if it was new or old) about the FBI investigating a small Radio Shack type of shop who sold high-end game consoles to Algeria because the parts could be used to create a high capacity system. The show was about competing jurisdictions and secret courts/warrants, but I had almost forgotten about these restrictions. I remember in school there was a lot spoken about not exporting PGP technology which seemed ridiculous from an enforcement point of view.

Re:Oh well. (4, Informative)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658147)

.basically we don't like Iran, so we can't do business with them at all.
Unless, of course, we're Halliburton [wikipedia.org] ! (Read the 9th entry)

Re:Oh well. (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657961)

Actually, arent most parts made in taiwan or china now????

    &-)

They are the Boogeymen! (5, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658043)

Don't you get it. We have to be afraid of Iran. They are a threat. Ahmidnidaklsjadeasred, whatever, wants to end civilization as we know it!! With this SUPERCOMPUTER they could calculate the exact coordinates of New York and bomb it into oblivion!! (end sarcasm)

Seriously though, Iran is a scapegoat for US politicians. They can't handle, politically, the fact that their foreign policy initiatives fail consistently in the Middle East. They need a shadowy, vageuly evil figure to pit the fear of the electorate against the critical thinking of the electorate, which is the side that says invasions, coups, and exploitation aren't working. If it weren't for the Iran, the Iraq war would have zero political viability. Instead, Iran provides a "threat" so it becomes politically viable to call for indefinite troop deployment.

This is a most bizarre case of symbiotism. Ahmadinejade is pretty much an idiot (see no gays in Iran comment) who doesn't really have all that special of a record. Is he a threat to world civilization, probably not. He does, however, say enough dumb things that he gives political capital to his enemies in the west. His enemies in the west return the favor by imposing sanctions, threatening pre-emptive attacks, etc. It's a twisted quid pro quo kind of thing. He gets to appeal to Iranian nationalism against the threat of American attack, and the White House gets to appeal to Americans' fears of an evil terrorist state with nukes and a supercomputer.

Moral of the story is that fear, uncertainty, and doubt breeds political power. Any time someone tells you to be afraid, take it with a grain of salt.

Re:They are the Boogeymen! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658255)

Tell that to the Somali's who just got invaded twice, first by Iranian funded and trained agents. (Yes, Eritrea is a proxy state for Iran) and then by the Ethiopians, who aren't going to get surrounded by them. Note that most of the Muslim terrorists outside of Al Quaeda have been trained and funded by the Iranians. Oh yeah, and they're winning; there are 10 times as many Muslim governments as there were 20 years ago.

Re:They are the Boogeymen! (2, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658417)

there are 10 times as many Muslim governments as there were 20 years ago.
Yup, Iraq is one of them.

Re:They are the Boogeymen! (5, Funny)

seven of five (578993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658367)

Ahmadinejade is pretty much an idiot

Yeah, but our [whitehouse.gov] idiots are better than their idiots!

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Re:They are the Boogeymen! (1)

drexeljoe (831829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658395)

Scapegoat yes. But the situation is worse than just pointing at some random country and making US citizens fear them for one's own political gain.

Obviously, there seem to be some very resourceful and intelligent Iranians hard at work. In the stone age? I think not. Shouldn't we be looking to work with nations with such people? Shouldn't we be hiring them or recruiting them since most Americans are too lazy or apathetic to know that a "home-built" supercomputer with giga-flop speed capabilities is actually quite an achievement?

You're right. Instead we just say sit back and let politicians use hearsay (or pure fabrication) to say "look! smart foreigners! i mean - evil genuises. no wait -just evil. evil, evil, evil. they want the bomb! they want to spend billions of dollars and years of work to blow us up! and then... blow up other stuff... until there is no stuff..." Pathetic.

Anyone ready to send their resume to Googleplex Tehran?

Re:They are the Boogeymen! (1, Troll)

immovable_object (569797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658409)

Boy, you are naive. What are supercomputers used for in the DOD? Nuclear weapon simulations. By simulating the nuclear weapon, you can test your designs without needing to (re)build a bunch of bombs.

If Iran builds a nuclear weapon, the entire middle east landscape changes. Iran can now threaten Saudi Arabia, Israel and others with the use of nuclear weapons. It takes them from a bunch-of-religious-radicals with guns to a bunch-of-religious-radicals with a nuclear bomb.

It then turns from a discussion of equals in the middle east to a discussion of nuclear powers (Israel and Iran) and everybody else.

Re:Oh well. (1)

Codifex Maximus (639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658173)

A related question might be: is anything still made in the U.S. anymore? Wouldn't the U.S. have to ban Iran from using Taiwanese computer parts??

YMMV

Don't panic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657719)

Folks, no need to panic or call for invasion just yet. They still have twenty two more letters before they can get from AMD to WMD.

Re:Don't panic (1)

UltraMathMan (1139987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657861)

Yeah but what's to say that 'A' doesn't "accidentally" become a 'W'... On a related note I lost my tinfoil hat this morning.

Re:Don't panic (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658055)

They still have twenty two more letters before they can get from AMD to WMD.

Perhaps those who think of invasion as a solution to problems are more backward looking.

CC.

Re:Don't panic (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658213)

Folks, no need to panic or call for invasion just yet. They still have twenty two more letters before they can get from AMD to WMD.

But if you go backwards, it's only four letters! We're all doomed!

WMD needs AMD (1)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658337)

What good is a Weapon of Mass Destruction without Ammunition of Mass Destruction? An ICBM without a warhead is just a rocket crashing. A water truck without anthrax is only useful for agriculture. It's the ammunition that counts as much as the weapon. So actually, WMD is a lot closer to AMD that you suggest.

But will it run... (0, Redundant)

phekno (719662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657731)

The Linux-cluster machine has a 'theoretical peak performance of 860 gig-flops'.
But will it run Windows Vista?

Too bad... (0, Redundant)

B_un1t (942155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657733)

Too bad they won't know what to do with all that power...

Re:Too bad... (3, Funny)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658027)

No, they just want to play WoW without any lag.

Obligatory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657735)

Imagine a beo... ah nevermind.

Re:Obligatory (4, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657891)

I suggest that from now on, we just use "Obligatory .... Nevermind" and bypass any pretense of anything else.

See below for example ....

Subject: Obligatory

Comment: Nevermind

We'll eventually just shorten it to

Subject: Nevermind

Comment:

Intel's new marketing slogan... (5, Funny)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657741)

Intel Inside, at least we don't support terrorisim....

Finally, A Country That Says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657755)


JUST NO to the Military-Industrial-CONGRESSIONAL Complex [whitehouse.org] .

Sincerely,
K. Trout

Less than reputable resellers in the world?? (5, Funny)

jzarling (600712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657779)

Im shocked that there may be resellers who are less than reputable!

Beware (1)

JoltinJoe77 (1199263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657781)

The supercomputer's real name is W.O.P.R.

Re:Beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657827)

I though I read it was the Gibson.

Re:Beware (1)

sheph (955019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657887)

That's funny I just watched that movie last night. To think we were worried about the USSR all those years.

The Number of the Beast? (5, Funny)

Sigismundo (192183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657787)

Is it just a coincidence that their supercomputer has 216 processors which is 6 * 6 * 6 ???

Re:The Number of the Beast? (2, Funny)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657991)

Is it just a coincidence that their supercomputer has 216 processors which is 6 * 6 * 6 ???

Yes.

Re:The Number of the Beast? (1)

serialdogma (883470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658001)

Maybe it is just perfect cubes are easier to lay out in server racks, and they didn't have the budget for 8^3 nodes.

On a tangent, why does /. not let you use the html tag?

Re:The Number of the Beast? (1)

Sigismundo (192183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658317)

Having n^3 nodes (or at least x*y*z nodes) might also be useful for doing massive 3D simulations.

Re:The Number of the Beast? (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658425)

I assume you meant the <sup> tag? No idea. It doesn't let you use style attributes either, or the &sup3; HTML entity.

Re:The Number of the Beast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658313)

No, they probably arranged the processors as a 6x6x6 cube.

Re:The Number of the Beast? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658327)

If you're doing lattice simulations, you want the geometry of your supercomputer to match that of your lattice. QCD lattice supercomputers usually have nodes connected in some sort of 4-D geometry because the lattice of spacetime is 4-D.

So they're probably doing something on a lattice that has dimensions divisible by six.

Oh noes! (1, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657791)

Somehow, those clever bastards managed to buy a bunch of highly esoteric computer parts that I can run down to a local computer shop and pick up for at most a couple hundred bucks a pop. What evil persons could have sold them all those processors?

The breathless panic in the American media about everything Iran does is getting a little old.

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657875)

The breathless panic in the American media about everything Iran does is getting a little old

You mean from the site of breaking IT news for Australian business?

Re:Oh noes! (3, Insightful)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658037)

You do realise that it was the Australian media that posted this.. not the US Media... I mean seriously.. this is not even a case of reading the fucking article.. its a case of mousing over the link to the fucking article and seeing its a .au domain... Don't be such a lazy ass.

"Enormously Powerful" (5, Insightful)

rockmuelle (575982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657799)

10 years ago, yes. But, seriously, it takes only about $30k to build a tera-scale system with commodity parts. And, if single precision is OK, $2400 will get you 900 "gig-flops" worth of PS3s. Last time I went through Bahrain, you could buy those in the airport for your kids, so they shouldn't be too hard for the Iranian government to buy.

Not sure what the story is here...

-Chris

Re:"Enormously Powerful" (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657835)

Not to mention that 215 processors is not exactly a lot.

Re:"Enormously Powerful" (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658279)

It's 216, you insensitive clod!

Re:"Enormously Powerful" (5, Insightful)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658109)

10 years ago, yes. But, seriously, it takes only about $30k to build a tera-scale system with commodity parts. And, if single precision is OK, $2400 will get you 900 "gig-flops" worth of PS3s. Last time I went through Bahrain, you could buy those in the airport for your kids, so they shouldn't be too hard for the Iranian government to buy.

Not sure what the story is here...

-Chris
My guess: The real story is that the joiurnalist and his/her editors couldn't wrap their noodles around the idea that that anyone except a select fer universities and think tanks could build a machine that can produce theoretical "Giga-"s.... And are equally clueless that the "Banned AMD technology" is anything more than commodity pc parts.....

'Banned'? (4, Interesting)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657809)

When's the last time AMD motherboard and CPUs have been manufactured in the US? AFAIK, they're all fab'd in Taiwan or China. These parts may never have entered of left the United States at all.

Re:'Banned'? (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658113)

From the article:

"AMD fully complies with all United States export control laws, and all authorized distributors of AMD products have contractually committed to AMD that they will do the same with respect to their sales and shipments of AMD products," the company said. "Any shipment of AMD products to Iran by any authorized distributor of AMD would be a breach of the specific provisions of their contracts with AMD."

Big bucks... (1)

spinlight (1152137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657819)

Gotta wonder who "lost" their shipment of 216 AMD processors.

Re:Big bucks... (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658345)

They probably just got them at a CompUSA fire sale.

More proof (2, Interesting)

tshetter (854143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657821)

This is just one more instance of US foreign policy failing in its purpose and then acting to hurt America.

Iran and Iranians can get their computers now and always have. You might as well have American companies making the money.

Same thing with Cuba.

Trade and diplomacy work much better than sanctions and war. You want Castro to fall? Flood Cuba with American tourists and artists.

new crunching machine (5, Funny)

caffeine_monkey (576033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657823)

I guess we'll expect to see Team Tehran moving up in the seti@home rankings.

Re:new crunching machine (1)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658127)

Speaking of the myriad uses for supercomputers - I wonder, what is Iran's policy on extraterrestrials?

Meaning, if they were able to identify a signal from space from another civilization, how might they react?

For that matter, what is the US policy in this regard?

Re:new crunching machine (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658401)

Aren't they signatories to the SETI Declaration [setileague.org] ? Oh, maybe not Iran [setileague.org] - but the USofA is.

Supercomputer == WMD (1, Insightful)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657833)

Here we go again.

Re:Supercomputer == WMD (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658193)

The sad thing here is that supercomputers have been used (and heavily funded) by the US government for nuclear weapons research in the past.

I'm sure that the first thing that the US government (Congress and the White House) thought when they heard "Iran" and "supercomputer" was "nuclear weapons program." They have years of associating supercomputers with nukes, climate research, physics, NUKES , etc. under their belts.

it's time to nuke amd headquarters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657845)

they support terrorism, at least put the CEO in guantanamo.

Lotsa way of smuggling parts in (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657855)

Of course AMD has no clue, there are a large number of ways the parts were smuggled in. How is this news?

Re:Lotsa way of smuggling parts in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658203)

Smuggled in, huh?

It's a US export ban, not an Iranian import ban.

So many places to get that stuff (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657867)

It's the country's biggest, but it's by no means huge. We probably have half a dozen within those specs on site. Not to mention it would be pretty easy for them to go to a non-embargoed country and bring some back, or work through a non-authorized resale agent.

Silly Iranians. (2, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657869)

Why do all that work to achieve a theoretical peak performance of 860 GFlops, when a IBM Cell [wikipedia.org] processor has a theoretical peak around 1000 GFlops?

My point is that the theoretical maximum speed rating, all by itself, doesn't fully characterize the relevant performance of a given computer for the computations which it's intended to perform.

Or maybe the Iranians really should just make a trip to Best Buy...

creators to rescue planet/population using... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21657873)

newclear power. no gadgets, or man-made foibles required.

we're intending (do not underestimate the power of intentions) for the godless nazis to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather'.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

now, that's terrorism/torture on a glowbull scale.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption.

fortunately there's an 'army' of angels, coming yOUR way

do not be afraid/dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, is it (literally) ground hog day, again? many of US are obviously not interested in how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

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some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

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"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Hawks (1)

gregoryb (306233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657895)

Cue the hawks in 3...2...1...

It's one thing to have a supercomputer.... (1)

swamp boy (151038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657897)

but another to know what to do with it. Also, it wouldn't be that hard for them to build a distributed supercomputer using older systems on a LAN with MPI or PVM.

Re:It's one thing to have a supercomputer.... (4, Funny)

protolith (619345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658145)

Maybe they want to play a wicked fast game of pong...

Yea but... (2, Funny)

Xinef Jyinaer (1044268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657921)

Yea but does it run Linu... Oh, so it does. Excellent.

Re:Yea but... (1)

Copperhamster (1031604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658411)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of those...

Probably would have been better... (2, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657923)

To just buy a cluster of Playstation 3s [physorg.com] , especially since they do have Gigabit ethernet and Linux toolflows.

since when is 216 opterons a big deal? (1)

markhahn (122033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657941)

216-cores is no longer anything more than a small cluster. if you wanted, you could do it with just 10 very mundane 2-socket, quad-core chips - less than a 2-foot stack of nodes! this one sounds like a 54-node 2x2 cluster, which would be about a rack and a half, and set you back about $100k (more depending on how fancy you get with interconnect, storage, etc.)

to put it another way: it's a long way from even the bottom of the top500 list.

Good for them (5, Insightful)

Sylvak (967868) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657955)

Seriously, I'm getting tired of governments who are scaring their citizens about Iran's threat to this world. I'm glad they were able to achieve this despite all the embargoes against them.

Has to be bogus (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657969)

This has to be bogus... who would say "gig-flops"? I thought that's what happens at a bad local band performance (the gig flops).

Probably using it to simulate... (2, Insightful)

1zenerdiode (777004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21657985)

...the implosion dynamics of the fission weapon they aren't building.

Doesn't make the top 500... (5, Informative)

flabbergast (620919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658005)

"The Iranian supercomputer falls far behind the world's fastest computers. In November, the BlueGene/L System, jointly developed by IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy was ranked No. 1 in the world with a benchmark performance of 478.2 teraflops. A teraflop equals a trillion calculations per second."

Indeed, the article mentions at the end that it falls far behind the rest of the world. In fact, to make the Top 500 this year you had to have a supercomputer worthy of 5.9 Teraflops.

I am encouraged by this (4, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658017)

This tells me that there are university professors and students who are passionate about hi-tech. That passion is a productive alternative to the other model we have of Iran as a bunch of wild eyed fundamentalists who want to bomb the world back to the 8th century. Perhaps this competing force of moderation in Iran will grow its influence through hi tech and universities.

Re:I am encouraged by this (1, Troll)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658353)

This tells me that there are university professors and students who are passionate about hi-tech. That passion is a productive alternative to the other model we have of Iran as a bunch of wild eyed fundamentalists who want to bomb the world back to the 8th century. Perhaps this competing force of moderation in Iran will grow its influence through hi tech and universities.
Interesting. Substitute "United States" for "Iran", and see how things change...

Re:I am encouraged by this (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658397)

Back in the 8th century Persia was a center of scholarship. :)

Just Imagine!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658029)

Imagine a Beowolf cluster of these !

No Need to Fret... (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658091)

...AMD promptly voided the warranty on all parts shipped to Iran. Let's see them try to RMA something now! Burned!

Made In China (1)

halfdan the black (638018) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658133)

How can we (United States) have export bans on components which are ALL made in China???

Largest non-porn computer (5, Funny)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658139)

This is notable because it is the largest amount of computer power assembled that will never be used to collect porn.

OMG! A weapon of mass computing ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658143)

... perhaps we should google-bomb it :-p

Sounds Like a Beowulf Cluster (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658151)

I'm not sure this all that big of a risk since computers have been around for a couple of decades now. It sounds like they just set up a Beowulf Cluster and didn't even use all the nodes possible.

"Beowulf Clusters are scalable performance clusters based on commodity hardware, on a private system network, with open source software (Linux) infrastructure. The designer can improve performance proportionally with added machines. The commodity hardware can be any of a number of mass-market, stand-alone compute nodes as simple as two networked computers each running Linux and sharing a file system or as complex as 1024 nodes with a high-speed, low-latency network." as quoted from http://www.beowulf.org/overview/index.html [beowulf.org] .

shocking... (1)

jasen666 (88727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658157)

Does anyone who actually supports these embargo laws ever really think they'll stop said country from getting what they want anyway?
Embargos are a token gesture as most. Political foot-stomping.
No one is actually surprised that Iran can get all the banned US goods they want, are they?

You cannot ban commodities, it just doesn't work (5, Insightful)

GnarlyDoug (1109205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658217)

Computer chips are now commodities. Back in the day they weren't, but the times moved on. Trying to ban computer chips from reaching anyone who wants to buy them is like trying to ban corn, oil, gas, rice, or soybeans. It's just not going to happen. These computer chips are sold around the world in bulk quantities at low prices. In addition most of these things aren't even manufactured on US soil anymore.

The idea that you can somehow 'ban' a country from getting ahold of a commodity is ludicrious and stupid. The only way you could really do that would be to effectively seal and close their borders militarily and embargo them to the point that you controlled all of their travel and trade outside of their borders. Good luck with that.

Re:You cannot ban commodities, it just doesn't wor (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658371)

"Trying to ban computer chips from reaching anyone who wants to buy them is like trying to ban corn, oil, gas, rice, or soybeans."

Those are easier to interdict because they are bulk products. A shipping container of computer parts is small and easy to send most anywhere.

Could someone explain (5, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658225)

Why Iran is not (apparently) allowed to have nuclear energy, or high powered computers? Have they ever detonated a computer guided nuclear weapon in someone else's country?

Its nickname? (1, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658231)

Mohammed.

F+aBilzors.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658289)

they sFtartEd to
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