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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Lets All Panic About Nuclear Reactors!

Little Boy

The local TV news KOB would like everyone to know that UNM’s Nuclear Engineering Lab has a 1966 built nuclear reactor. Now panic.

It is a lesser known fact that UNM has a nuclear reactor on campus. Students use it for training. But in light of the threat of nuclear meltdown in Japan, some are wondering if it is even a good idea to have it.

It’s not a lesser know fact anymore since KOB is questioning if UNM should have one. Meanwhile New Mexico has a large number of military labs (maybe the most of any state) where nuclear bombs have been made for years (and who knows what other kinds of experimental weapons). New Mexico is the home of the Manhattan Project after all.

Meanwhile while everyone is panicking, they are buying out the local stock of potassium iodide.