American Supercomputer Named World's Most Powerful

Hevva

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American Supercomputer Named World's Most Powerful



IBM's Sequoia is red, white, and huge.

Twice every year, computer scientists help one another compile a list of the usually [http://www.top500.org/list/2012/06/100] found itself listed at or very near the top of the list. Now, three years after the Asian takeover of the Top Ten, an American supercomputer has again been named as the most powerful in the world.

The name of this beast is Sequoia, an IBM supercomputer which lives in U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Sequoia passes the time running simulated detonations of nuclear weapons, an activity that will hopefully allow scientists to extend the effectiveness of ageing American armaments.

Sequoia is, as you'd imagine, seriously powerful. It can handle in one hour the kind of calculations that would take 6.7 billion slack-jawed humans armed with calculators 320 years to complete if they spent every minute working. Scrape your chin off the floor, ape, and think about that for a second. 6.7 billion people, 6.7 billion calculators, no tea breaks, and 320 years. Ouch.

As impressive as Sequoia's performance is, the really cool thing about it is how efficient the machine is. It consumes 7.9 megawatts to feed its 1.57 million processors, compared to the 12.6 megawatts required for the Japanese K Computer, the second-most powerful supercomputer in the world, to power just over 700,000 processors. Despite using much less energy, Sequoia is still 1.55 times faster than the K Computer.

However, Sequoia isn't the most energy efficient supercomputer on the list. That honor goes to Munich's SuperMUC IBM machine, the fourth most powerful in the world, which uses a novel system of microfluidic channels [http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2012/06/wet-supercomputer-closes-in-on.html] to pump recycled water around its processors. The water picks up heat from the machines before being whisked off to a heat exchanger, generating energy and keeping the place cool at the same time. All in all, the system saves SuperMUC's facility around €1 million ($1.3 million) in power per year.

"While Sequoia may be the fastest, the underlying computing capabilities it provides give us increased confidence in [America's] nuclear deterrent," commented National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administrator Thomas D'Agostino. "Sequoia also represents continued American leadership in high performance computing," he added.

IBM is also understandably pleased with Sequoia's place in the rankings (in addition to those of the four other IBM machines in the top ten). IBM's vice president of deep computing, David Turek, added that, "Substantial planning went into this. We knew the day would come."

Where next for giant computers, then? What would happen if engineers combined Sequoia's power with more advanced versions of SuperMUC's water-based cooling system? My laptop could use something like that (its nickname is Vesuvius, enflamer of all it touches). Will said new supercomputers be Chinese, Japanese, or American? I wonder how their names will evolve, too. Sequoia, K Computer, Vesuvius, SuperMUC, all perfectly friendly-sounding. Not mean or menacing, certainly not self-aware. Unlike, well, you know...


Source: BBC [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18457716]









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mikecoulter

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The fact that this is used for nuclear simulations greatly saddens me.

It's a mad world.

EDIT:

That is so awesomely powerful though, some amazing engineering.
 
Sep 14, 2009
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AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAHHHHHHHH




EVERYONE BOW DOWN. YOUR PUNY 2ND RATE SHIT IS NEGLIGIBLE COMPARED TO OUR 'MERICAN GADGETS



(for anyone who has no detection in sarcasm or a sense of humor, please, do yourself a favor, this is a bloody joke.)

oh, i suppose i should talk about the article too

that is amazing how much shit that thing can do...sweet jesus. and pretty cool to hear about the german one and how it saves energy, we should've done something like that :/
 

Redingold

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Mar 28, 2009
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According to the TOP500 site, Sequoia runs at about 16.325 petaflops, while the second place K computer runs at 10.51 petaflops. That's 1.55 times faster, not 1.15 as it says in the article.
 

Hevva

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Redingold said:
According to the TOP500 site, Sequoia runs at about 16.325 petaflops, while the second place K computer runs at 10.51 petaflops. That's 1.55 times faster, not 1.15 as it says in the article.
You're quite right! Cheers. Fixed now.
 

Hevva

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Scientist 1: "Let's build a supercomputer!"

Scientist 2: "Great idea! Let's use its unrivalled processing power to end human suffering and propel us to the stars!"

Scientist 1: "No... I was thinking more along the lines of using it to find new ways to blow people up..."

Scientist 2: "..."
 

Hevva

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The Plunk said:
Scientist 1: "Let's build a supercomputer!"

Scientist 2: "Great idea! Let's use its unrivalled processing power to end human suffering and propel us to the stars!"

Scientist 1: "No... I was thinking more along the lines of using it to find new ways to blow people up..."

Scientist 2: "..."
Scientist 1: ...with helpful radiation.
 

sethisjimmy

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May 22, 2009
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mikecoulter said:
The fact that this is used for nuclear simulations greatly saddens me.
This was pretty much my first thought too.
Leave it to America to create the world's most powerful supercomputer and use it for defense instead of science.
 

antipunt

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Jan 3, 2009
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to feed its 1.57 million processors
...

>_>

OK, this might just my personality but..

was anyone else thinking "ZOMG HOLY SHIT EARTTH QUAKEEEE" *everything falls apart; blows into bits*

lone guy: "NOooooooooooooooooooooo"
 

BrownGaijin

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Jan 31, 2009
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So it's used to see run simulated detonations of nuclear? Heck just throw them a copy of War Games. That should be enough of a hint. In fact just show them this scene:

 

Hevva

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Hevva said:
Sequoia is, as you'd imagine, seriously powerful. It can handle in one hour the kind of calculations that would take 6.7 billion slack-jawed humans armed with calculators 320 years to complete if they spent every minute working. Scrape your chin off the floor, ape, and think about that for a second. 6.7 billion people, 6.7 billion calculators, no tea breaks, and 320 years. Ouch.
The thing is, as impressive as those big numbers are, your regular human brain routinely does huge numbers of complex calculations that would leave even the most complex supercomputers melting on the floor. Humans may not be good at consciously processing maths, but the brain on an automated level is responsible for the management and control of the trillions of cells that make up your body, as well as all the functions that those cells work together to do.

Take this quote from the 125th IEE anniversay, by Dharmedra Mobhra:

Computers are lauded for their speed and accuracy, but they don?t hold a candle to the human brain when it comes to tackling complex mathematical problems, Dharmendra Modha, director of cognitive computing at the IBM Almaden Research Center, said at today?s event. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Defense Department?s research arm, last year gave Modha and his colleagues $4.9 million for a project called ?SyNAPSE,? through which they are trying to reverse-engineer the brain?s computational abilities to better understand its ability to sense, perceive, act, interact, and understand different stimuli.

?We have no computers today that can begin to approach the awesome power of the human mind,? Modha said. A computer comparable to the human brain, he added, would need to be able to perform more than 38 thousand trillion operations per second [[http://www.petaflop.info/]] and hold about 3,584 terabytes of memory. (IBM?s BlueGene supercomputer, one of the worlds? most powerful, has a computational capability of 92 trillion operations per second and 8 terabytes of storage.)
So yeah, good going IBM. But you're still nowhere near the raw power of the human brain.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Sep 8, 2011
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Hevva said:
Sequoia passes the time running simulated detonations of nuclear weapons, an activity that will hopefully allow scientists to extend the effectiveness of ageing American armaments.
This kind of processing power and that's what it does?

I don't want to live on this planet anymore. Fuckin' retards.