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.

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Former Intel Employee Gets 3 Years Of Prison

From the Associated Press article “Ex-Intel Worker Gets 3 years for stealing Secrets

A former Intel Corp. worker in Massachusetts has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of computer chip manufacturing and design secrets while working for a rival company.

I think he was working at Intel when he was hired by AMD and that’s when he started downloading internal documents. He may have had the idea to sell the documents to AMD but AMD said they didn’t put him up to it and had nothing to do with it.

Intel Cancels Larrabee

An Intel blog updates on Intel’s graphic’s chip program and says Larabee is no longer. Anandtech has a good analysis of the blog.

Intel cancelled plans for a discrete Larrabee graphics card because it could not produce one that was competitive with existing GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA in current games. Why Intel lacked the foresight to stop from even getting to this point is tough to say. The company may have been too optimistic or genuinely lacked the experience in building discrete GPUs, something it hadn’t done in more than a decade. Maybe it truly was Pat Gelsinger’s baby.

I don’t know why Intel can’t make Larrabee happen but I am disappointed that Intel can’t be competitive with AMD and Nvidia.

AMD Gets Paid

I was really surprised by an AMD and Intel announcement today.

Intel Corp. is paying Silicon Valley rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. $1.25 billion to squash a legal battle over Intel’s sales tactics, a rift that led to antitrust charges against Intel in several countries and was headed toward a costly and nasty trial next year.

Intel still has to face government charges from the EU and NY State but it AMD will stay out of those and not start any lawsuits of it’s own.

Update: TechCrunch says 1.25 billion is nothing to Intel.

Just to put the size of the settlement in context, last year Intel’s revenues were $38 billion. Last quarter alone, it was making roughly $104 million a day. At that rate, Intel brings in $1.25 billion every 12 days. It can absorb the settlement pretty easily.

AMD Breaches Intel's Patents

Intel has notified AMD that AMD has breached it’s cross patent licensing by sharing those patents with AMD’s spin-off foundry company. What I find most humorous is one part of a Buisnesswire article.

In response to the notification AMD claimed Intel breached the agreement by notifying AMD of its breach.

Good job AMD. That will show Intel!