First Petaflop Supercomputer Now Semi-Retired in Los Alamos

By Ed Silverstein April 01, 2013

A historic supercomputer – which was the first to operate in petaflops – has been retired after five years of use. “Roadrunner” was decommissioned this weekend and continues to be based at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

It features 12,960 IBM PowerXCell 8i processors and 6480 AMD Opteron dual-core processors, according to news reports. Also, it had 114 TB of memory and about 1.09 million TB of storage.

It was ranked recently as the 22nd most powerful supercomputer in the world.

The IBM supercomputer will still be used for various experiments, including finding ways to compress operating system memory and optimize data routing.

It cost $125 million to build, and was made from commercially available parts. It was not particularly energy efficient, however, with 2345 kW needed to operate it at full power, compared to more economical supercomputers that were built more recently.

“Roadrunner was a truly pioneering idea," Gary Grider, deputy division leader of the High Performance Computing Division at the laboratory, said in a statement quoted by PC Magazine. “Roadrunner got everyone thinking in new ways about how to build and use a supercomputer. Specialized processors are being included in new ways on new systems, and being used in novel ways. Our demonstration with Roadrunner caused everyone to pay attention."

Roadrunner was built to model “the decay of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, under the auspices of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program,” ExtremeTech said.

The Los Alamos lab, the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California are now using a supercomputer called Cielo. It operates faster than Roadrunner.

On the horizon for supercomputers are those which operate at exascale speed (1,000 petaflops or more). The U.S. Department of Energy will build the first exaflop computer in 2020, ExtremeTech said.

IBM wants to build an exaflop supercomputer before 2024. It will be used for the Square Kilometer Array — a 3,000-kilometer-wide telescope.




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Get Smart About Influencer Attribution in a Blockchain World

By: Maurice Nagle    4/16/2018

The retail value chain is in for a blockchain-enabled overhaul, with smarter relationships, delivering enhanced transparency across an environment of …

Read More

Facebook Flip-Flopping on GDPR

By: Maurice Nagle    4/12/2018

With GDPR on the horizon, Zuckerberg in Congress testifying and Facebook users questioning loyalty, change is coming. What that change will look like,…

Read More

The Next Phase of Flash Storage and the Mid-Sized Business

By: Joanna Fanuko    4/11/2018

Organizations amass profuse amounts of data these days, ranging from website traffic metrics to online customer surveys. Collectively, AI, IoT and eve…

Read More

Satellite Imaging - Petabytes of Developer, Business Opportunities

By: Doug Mohney    4/11/2018

Hollywood has programmed society into believing satellite imaging as a magic, all-seeing tool, but the real trick is in analysis. Numerous firms are f…

Read More

Blockchain in Space

By: Doug Mohney    4/10/2018

The fact is that everyone is putting a special spin upon blockchain this minute. Given that, it's no surprise a number of companies are discussing dis…

Read More