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Meep meep, Roadrunner Supercomputer shuts down

The world’s first sustained petaflop supercomputer, Roadrunner, has been shut down by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, ending its five year run of trend setting and virus modelling.

Record breaking for its near 1.5 petaflop peak performance, Road Runner also made waves in 2008 by being incredibly energy efficient and built from many off-the-shelf parts. It also used a hybrid architecture, becoming the first supercomputer to utilise CPUs from different manufacturers: Road Runner combined AMD Opteron (over 6,000) and IBM PowerCell (just under 13,000) chips.

Great Scott
“1.21, petaflops?!”

However as impressive as this supercomputer was in its day, in 2013, it’s simply been replaced by something more powerful. Cielo, faster and more energy efficient than its predecessor, also cost far less to develop, since it had a pair of supercomputing footprints to follow in. Reportedly, while Roadrunner cost over $120 million (£79 million), Cielo was a much more reasonable $54 million (£35 million).

Cielo is now the front-line supercomputer for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and sits as the 18th fastest supercomputer in the world. The first place trophy belongs to the Cray Titan machine, found in Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which performs at a peak of 17.59 petaflops, but it has a theoretical maximum of almost 30.

KitGuru Says: Always sad to see these giants of “old” go down for the count. That said, I don’t think any of these will get faster than the Gibson, right?

[Thanks BBC]

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