In Pictures: A look inside what may be the world's fastest supercomputer
New Roadrunner is expected to break the petaflop barrier when tested later this month
Computerworld - Taking up 6,000 square feet and weighing in at 500,000 pounds, the latest version of the IBM Roadrunner supercomputer is nearly complete.
Engineers and technicians are in the process of finishing its assembly and expect to begin running tests within a few weeks to gauge its performance, according to Don Grice, chief engineer on the Roadrunner project. Grice said he is highly confident that the new system will break the petaflop barrier, which is akin to the four-minute mile of supercomputing.
A petaflop is 1,000 trillion calculations per second. Right now, the world's fastest supercomputer is the BlueGene/L, which runs at 478 teraflops, or a trillion calculations per second. The new Roadrunner will gain its huge power boost by using both AMD's Opteron chips and the Cell chips originally designed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba for video games.
"We will break the petascale," Grice told Computerworld. Actually, IBM is contractually obligated to hit a petaflop under its agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is buying the machine.
Once IBM finishes testing Roadrunner, it will be disassembled, loaded onto 21 tractor-trailer trucks and driven to the lab in New Mexico, where it will be put back together again.
Here are pictures of Roadrunner as it neared completion in IBM's Poughkeepsie, N.Y., facility.
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