Los Alamos Lab's Roadrunner Supercomputer To Be Shut Down

The fastest supercomputer in the world in 2009 will be shutdown today, according to the Los Alamos National Labs.

8599713655_c725fb6f3d_bRoadrunner, the first supercomputer to break the once-elusive petaflop barrier—one million billion calculations per second—will be decommissioned on Sunday, March 31.

Roadrunner’s design was unique, and controversial. It combined two different kinds of processors, making it a “hybrid.” It had 6,563 dual-core general-purpose processors (AMD Opterons™), with each core linked to a special graphics processor (PowerXCell 8i) called a “Cell.” The Cell was an enhanced version of a specialized processor originally designed for the Sony Playstation 3®, adapted specifically to support scientific computing.

Future supercomputers will need to improve on Roadrunner’s energy efficiency to make the power bill affordable. Future supercomputers will also need new solutions for handling and storing the vast amounts of data involved in such massive calculations.

National Weather Service Issues Fire Weather Watch

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for parts of New Mexico on Sunday. I blame Obama.

…FIRE WEATHER WATCH SUNDAY FOR MOST OF NORTHERN AND CENTRAL NEW
MEXICO BELOW SIGNIFICANT SNOWPACK AND EXCLUDING THE NORTH CENTRAL
MOUNTAINS DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY…

.A CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER PATTERN IS SHAPING UP FOR SUNDAY
AFTERNOON TO EARLY EVENING ACROSS MOST OF NORTHERN AND CENTRAL NEW
MEXICO. HIGH TEMPERATURES SHOULD RANGE BETWEEN 5 TO 10 DEGREES
ABOVE NORMAL COMBINED WITH MINIMUM HUMIDITY VALUES IN THE UPPER
SINGLE DIGITS TO MID TEENS. THE ATMOSPHERE WILL BE FAIRLY
UNSTABLE. WINDS WILL GUST UP DURING THE AFTERNOON AS STRONG WINDS
ALOFT MIX DOWN TO THE SURFACE. HUMIDITY RECOVERIES WILL BE PRETTY
GOOD ACROSS THE EASTERN PLAINS DURING THE MORNING BUT MID TO LATE
AFTERNOON MIXING SHOULD TAKE CARE OF THOSE HIGHER HUMIDITY
VALUES. WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR PROJECTED CONDITIONS AS WE GET
CLOSER TO THE EVENT PERIOD.

External Link: Past airline mergers indicate Phoenix-area will sorely miss US Airways' headquarters

Past airline mergers indicate Phoenix-area will sorely miss US Airways’ headquarters From azcentral.com

US Airways executives decided nearly a year ago that if they merged, the Tempe headquarters would move to Fort Worth, Texas, and the airline would be called American.

But they’ve promised to maintain a big presence in metro Phoenix and keep the Sky Harbor International Airport hub. And they’ve hinted at new routes that could include Phoenix-London.

The promises might have been lifted straight from news releases that United and Continental airlines issued in 2010 when they merged and moved Continental’s headquarters from Houston to Chicago. Or from the release that Delta and Northwest issued in 2008 when they announced their merger and their plans to move Northwest’s headquarters from Minneapolis to Atlanta.

The Last Pack Trip Into The Pecos Wilderness

On Friday 7 September 2012 4 friends and I rode horses into the Pecos along with 2 pack horses and 1 one guide. We rode about 8 miles up to East Pecos Baldy. The horses were provided by Tererro General Store and Riding Stables at a cost of approximately $1250 (not including tip). The pack horses carried each of our back packs at about 30-40lbs each and 70lbs of food (with an undermined but significant amount of that weight in alcohol). Since the Pecos Wilderness is a Wilderness, no motorized vehicles are allowed.

Tererro General Store Riding Stables
Tererro General Store Riding Stables

The Tererro General Store typically takes hunting parties into the Pecos but we not interested in hunting, just a way to get into the mountain without having to carry 40lbs plus packs 8 miles in. However we were hiking out, all downhill and theoretically with less pack weight. What could go wrong?

Which brings me to the title of the article. Apparently there has been an overall reduction of horse packing business for the Tererro General store and insurance is not only becoming more expensive but harder to get as insurance companies don’t want to cover horse packing. Therefore this will be their last year of providing these trips and they plan to sell off the stables and horses. We weren’t the last trip up for the horses as they had a few more hunting parties going up but we were near to being the last trip.

Horses packed and waiting for riders
Horses packed and waiting for riders

This is the first time I have rode a horse since I went to the Philmont Scout Ranch over 20 years ago. I was a little nervous that the horse I was going to be riding would take one look at me and decide to ignore all my commands. There was nothing to be nervous about. The horses, mine was name Sampson, has been on this trip many time and knew the way better than I did and was used to newbies trying to drive. There was very little for me to do except keep him from running into the other horses when they suddenly stopped and from taking any shortcuts that we might get stuck in (they aren’t all that smart sometimes).

My horse was named Sampson
My horse was named Sampson

We start the trip about 10am New Mexico time and arrived at our destination 8 miles up the mountain about 12:30pm. The 8 mile ride took us through some forest, then to a large clearing with some grazing cattle.

The riding party
The riding party
Cattle with pointy things along the trail
Cattle with pointy things along the trail

We were back in forest when getting to our final destination.

Some fallen trees along the trail
Some fallen trees along the trail
The horses will be happy to get rid of us
The horses will be happy to get rid of us

It mostly rained the whole time so we had to come up with covered communal area where we could sit around the fire and not get soaked. There also wasn’t a lot of firewood, the area had been picked pretty clean. What little firewood we found was wet.

Campsite in the Pecos
Campsite in the Pecos

We spent time exploring the area near East Pecos Baldy. There are supposed to be big horned sheep in the area but all we came across was cattle and a few bow hunters on horseback also looking for sheep.

Pecos Baldy Lake
Pecos Baldy Lake

We were lucky to have a day of no rain where we were able to hike to the top of Ease Pecos Baldy.

Near East Pecos Baldy
Near East Pecos Baldy
The group (except the photographer) on top of Ease Pecos Baldy
The group (except the photographer) on top of Ease Pecos Baldy
People on a nearby peak
People on a nearby peak

Finally, we hiked out on 10 September 2012. While we ate and drank our way through most of our supplies we still managed to have quite a bit of weight on us on our way out. Making us wonder why we didn’t rent horse to take us out.

Hiking out
Hiking out

The enitire photoset can be viewed on the Flickr set “2012-09-07 Pecos Pack Trip“.