Kris Carlson

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Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL: Roadrunner supercomputer puts research at a new scale

World’s fastest supercomputer, 10^15 ops/second, cost $120M, as of 6/12/2008:

On Monday scientists used PetaVision to reach a new computing performance record of 1.144 petaflop/s. The achievement throws open the door to eventually achieving human-like cognitive performance in electronic computers.

Based on the results of PetaVision’s inaugural trials, Los Alamos researchers believe they can study in real time the entire human visual cortex—arguably a human being’s most important sensory apparatus.

PetaVision models the human visual system—mimicking more than 1 billion visual neurons and trillions of synapses.

Because there are about a quadrillion synapses in the human brain, human cognition is a petaflop/s computational problem.

The Roadrunner is the world’s first supercomputer to achieve sustained operating performance speeds of one petaflop/s. In partnership with Los Alamos and the National Nuclear Security Administration, Roadrunner was built by IBM and will be housed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where it will be used to perform calculations that will vastly improve the nation’s ability to certify that the United States nuclear weapons stockpile is reliable without conducting underground nuclear tests.

Roadrunner was built using commercially available hardware, including aspects of commercial game console technologies. Roadrunner has a unique hybrid design comprised of nodes containing two AMD OpteronTM dual-core processors plus four PowerXCell 8iTM processors used as computational accelerators. The accelerators are a special IBM-developed variant of the Cell processors used in the Sony PlayStation® 3. Roadrunner uses a Linux operating system. The project’s total cost is approximately $120 million.

Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL: Roadrunner supercomputer puts research at a new scale.

December 6, 2009 Posted by | Neuroscience | , , | Leave a comment

   

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