American Supercomputer Named World's Most Powerful

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American Supercomputer Named World's Most Powerful

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

Twice every year, computer scientists help one another compile a list of the Top 500 Supercomputer Sites worldwide. While the list spends most of its time impressing computer engineers (and giving them bragging rights), it has tended to moonlight as an indicator of the technological prowess of the nations that house the best supercomputers. Until 2009, when it was deposed by China, the United States usually 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 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

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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.

But can it run Crysis on full settings?

Lacsapix:
But can it run Crysis on full settings?

no. crysis is badly programmed.

also:

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAHHHHHHHH

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

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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.

Redingold:
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.

The specs on that thing are a real floor-a

Damnit, did they break into my room again?

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:
IBM's vice president of deep computing

Deep Computing sounds like the nerd version of the secret service.

The Plunk:
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.

mikecoulter:
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.

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"

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:

Yes, that's all very impressive... But can it feel love?

Hero in a half shell:
Yes, that's all very impressive... But can it feel love?

It can love nuclear warfare, if that's what you mean.

Hevva:

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.

Hevva:
IBM's vice president of deep computing

Isn't that the office held by the people who built Deep Thought in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

Hevva:
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.

Take IBM, and move every letter one step back in the alphabet.

'A brain the size of a planet, and they have me [simulating detonations of nuclear weapons]'

Germany has a super computer that saves the SuperMUC's facility around €1 million ($1.3 million) in power per year.While the Americans have one to simulate Nuclear explosions.

Guess which country does not have a $15 Trillion dollar debt

This is pretty interesting.
Alos, holy balls that's loads of processors.

People saying skynet and wondering why it simulated nuclear weapons rather then working for 'good'. Your overwhelming ignorance of how technology works saddens me. This isn't an AI, its a super-fast vector math calculator programmed to crunch numbers. It does simulations, not AI. fixing world hunger is not a simulation problem (its a political problem) and AI requires more complex coding then '1. calculate number 2. store 3. loop'.

It's interesting to see that America is on top this year but aside from predicting future processing numbers this whole competition always struck me as kind of stupid. Lets see who has the fastest specialized computer, because!

And we're using this for what? Seriously, this is terrible, we could be doing so much with this. And C.M. Porter wanted to give this gift to the surface HA.

Spygon:
Germany has a super computer that saves the SuperMUC's facility around €1 million ($1.3 million) in power per year.While the Americans have one to simulate Nuclear explosions.

Guess which country does not have a $15 Trillion dollar debt

Oh, Germany is deeply in debt too, make no mistake about that.

On-Topic: If the american Computer is used to to find ways to put the american nuclear arsenal to a more efficient use it at least has the effect of not more bombs being built. That counts for something, I guess.

I may be wrong about that and I'm too lazy right now to actually check it but as far as I recall SuperMUC is used for weather forecast. It's not solving world hunger either.

They just said it runs nuclear scenarios, in actuality it's running a verisimilitude of human thought computations so we can have a fully autonomous bipedal nuclear armament run by and AI designed after the Boss to act as our actual deterrent.

fanklok:
They just said it runs nuclear scenarios, in actuality it's running a verisimilitude of human thought computations so we can have a fully autonomous bipedal nuclear armament run by and AI designed after the Boss to act as our actual deterrent.

A "autonomous bipedal nuclear armament?" Is it a Metal Gear!? It better be a Rex design, who am I kidding They already have a Rex! Their just mass producing Rays thinking that they will be "better" because they have underwater strike capability

Mech Rule Number 1: The Prototype is "always" Superior, ALWAYS!

FantomOmega:

fanklok:
They just said it runs nuclear scenarios, in actuality it's running a verisimilitude of human thought computations so we can have a fully autonomous bipedal nuclear armament run by and AI designed after the Boss to act as our actual deterrent.

A "autonomous bipedal nuclear armament?" Is it a Metal Gear!? It better be a Rex design, who am I kidding They already have a Rex! Their just mass producing Rays thinking that they will be "better" because they have underwater strike capability

Mech Rule Number 1: The Prototype is "always" Superior, ALWAYS!

It's clear you haven't played Peace Walker.

fanklok:

FantomOmega:

fanklok:
They just said it runs nuclear scenarios, in actuality it's running a verisimilitude of human thought computations so we can have a fully autonomous bipedal nuclear armament run by and AI designed after the Boss to act as our actual deterrent.

A "autonomous bipedal nuclear armament?" Is it a Metal Gear!? It better be a Rex design, who am I kidding They already have a Rex! Their just mass producing Rays thinking that they will be "better" because they have underwater strike capability

Mech Rule Number 1: The Prototype is "always" Superior, ALWAYS!

It's clear you haven't played Peace Walker.

So your saying that that there was a model even before Metal Gear Ray but AFTER the Shagohod capable to launching nukes worldwide without a railgun!? I'll have to around to playing Peacewalker then, just checked and realized its now on the PSN as a HD Collection so I wont have to contend with the psp camera controls

Wow, talk about tempting fate with the whole "making it simulate nuclear strikes" thing. The only way they could make a more ironic ending for themselves is by saying "if anything happens, we'll just turn it off".

Spygon:
Germany has a super computer that saves the SuperMUC's facility around €1 million ($1.3 million) in power per year.While the Americans have one to simulate Nuclear explosions.

Guess which country does not have a $15 Trillion dollar debt

well to be honest germany has 5,6 trillion dollar debt (4th in the world), so your not the one to talk.

well americans have stopped whne it comes to IT for a while, looks like they are picking the slack again with computing power, now if only thier internet connection would move out of the 90s at last.\

and as for simulating nuclear explosions, here, you can do it on your pc: http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/
(obviously this is primitive, but fun t play with)

antipunt:

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"

It's not that unthinkable.
Normal high-end graphics card has over 500 processors in them.

rhizhim:

Lacsapix:
But can it run Crysis on full settings?

no. crysis is badly programmed.

also:

FRIGGIN NINJA'D! -.-

Awesome video though xD

Yeh i have nothing to add...i was just going to post the video...*twiddles thumbs*

EHKOS:
And we're using this for what? Seriously, this is terrible, we could be doing so much with this. And C.M. Porter wanted to give this gift to the surface HA.

Our country doesn't work that way. Instead of building a giant supercomputer and saying "what to do what to do" and the lightbulb comes on, the budget for it won't even be passed if it weren't for this purpose.

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