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Appliances, machines, gadgets, apps, widgets and gizmos. They shape our lives and most of us couldn't survive without them.
Latest Activity: on Saturday
Started by Michel. Last reply by Onyango Makagutu Apr 21.
Started by Michel Mar 26.
Started by Michel Mar 22.
Started by Michel. Last reply by Chris Apr 13.
Started by Michel. Last reply by Michel Dec 21, 2012.
Started by Marc. Last reply by Davy Dec 15, 2012.
Started by Michel. Last reply by Chris Nov 10, 2012.
Started by doone. Last reply by Michel Dec 3, 2012.
Started by Michel. Last reply by Adriana Sep 14, 2012.
Started by Michel. Last reply by Chris Apr 3.
Obsolescence: How Fast? Really Fast!
Five years ago it was the world’s fastest computer, running over a million billion calculations per second, but today Los Alamos Lab’s Roadrunner supercomputer is being decommissioned.
Just like your old desktop machine.
Roadrunner came online in 2008 to help nuclear scientists model and understand how nuclear weapons age and degrade. It occupied 6,000 square feet, cost $125 million to build, and reached a top speed of 1.45 petaflops with a hybrid processor model that combined 6,563 modified Playstation 3 processors with the same number of AMD Opteron CPUs.
One of the reasons it’s being shut down? While it’s still a fast computer — globally ranked at number 22 last year — Roadrunner is an energy hog, consuming 2.3 megawatts to reach peak operating speeds. That’s as much as a large house consumes in a month. The super-computer that is replacing Roadrunner cost $54 million, takes up much less space, and uses less energy.
“Future supercomputers will need to improve on Roadrunner’s energy efficiency to make the power bill affordable,” Los Alamos National Laboratory said in a statement.
While Roadrunner’s primary job was nuclear physics, scientists also used the supercomputer to investigate nanowire material, lasers, HIV genetics, and a complete simulation of the universe — at a 70-billion particle scale.
And there’s still a little more work for the shut-down supercomputer:
“Even in death, we are trying to learn from Roadrunner,” said Gary Grider of the Laboratory’s High Performance Computing Division.
Scientists will be studying memory compression techniques as well as optimized data routings for another month before dismantling the computer.
Anyone looking for some heavily used Opteron and Playstation 3 chips, cheap?
photo credit: CyberHades via photopin cc
And in the intervening period from then to now! How Much information has actually been lost?
I agree with you @michel, there was something elevating about being to write assembly language code. If I may be this in religious terms, it was like being able to talk directly to the God (computer) then and now we have to go through the Windows Priest.
@doone - The thing with these primitive machines was that it was actually possible to understand their workings at the Machine Language level. I was programming it in binary! Zeros and ones.
Nowadays I'm not sure there is someone in existence who can comprehend the entirety of a modern desktop computer.
The first computer I ever owned was a Commodore Vic-20. I learned programming on it and spent a fortune upgrading it from 8K to 32K of RAM. Just try to find a picture that would fit in 32 Kilobytes of memory...
This avatar below, would require a little more than 2 fully upgraded Vic-20s to display (it weighs 67,2K).
My computer is a working giant! It was fun to live through the birth of the PC era - a lot of options - maybe it is better now but it certainly is a less rich environment!
A tiny bit, yes:
Have times changed a bit?
Help Stanford University scientists studying Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson’s, and many cancers by simply running a piece of software on your computer.
The problems we are trying to solve require so many calculations, we ask people to donate their unused computer power to crunch some of the numbers.
Add your computer to 163,141 others around the world to form the world's largest distributed supercomputer.
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