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Origins of universe to be probed

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posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 11:59 AM

A new supercomputer has been launched at the University of Portsmouth which scientists hope will answer questions about the origins of the universe.

Reminiscent of Deep Thought, the fictional computer which was designed to find the answer to "life, the universe and everything" in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams, the SCIAMA is aimed at finding out how our universe began.

The new supercomputer, which has the power of 1,000 desktop computers, has been installed at the university to receive and process large amounts of astronomical data.

See Site For Full Article

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 12:18 PM
"The new supercomputer, which has the power of 1,000 desktop computers"

Thats it ? Surley the computers at the LHC have more processing power lol

A computer is only as good as the data in its input.

"The Grid consists of some 200,000 processing cores and 150 petabytes of disk space, distributed across 34 countries"

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 12:24 PM
Hell the US Army's cluster of playstation 3s running linux have more power than that

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 08:00 PM

Originally posted by seedofchucky
"The new supercomputer, which has the power of 1,000 desktop computers"

Thats it ?
Yeah, not so super for a supercomputer, is it?

However it does speak to the power of today's desktops.

Even the power of 1000 of today's desktops can do some serious number crunching.

The most powerful computer mentioned in this Oct 2010 article did 2.507 petaflops:

They don't give the number of FLOPS of the OP supercomputer but I'm guessing maybe a gigaflop.

If that's right it would take over 2.5 million of those " supercomputers" to have the same power as the 2.507 petaflop supercomputer in China.

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 01:12 AM
reply to post by Arbitrageur

hey don't give the number of FLOPS of the OP supercomputer but I'm guessing maybe a gigaflop.

It's likely in the hundreds of TeraFlops. The average CPU weighs in at about a hundred gigaflops or so. Your average graphics card weighs in about 300-500. More specialized desktop applications of hardware weigh in at 2+ Teraflops per GPU.

In June 2008, AMD released ATI Radeon HD4800 series, which are reported to be the first GPUs to achieve one teraFLOP scale. On August 12, 2008 AMD released the ATI Radeon HD 4870X2 graphics card with two Radeon R770 GPUs totaling 2.4 teraFLOPS.

Compare that to:

1999 Intel ASCI Red/9632 2.3796 TFLOPS

A supercomputer of the era.

Nine years later, a single card could provide the same computing power (however, many supercomputers possess far more memory than today's average computers, so that should not be construed to mean we can do the same things with today's graphics card as a whole supercomputer could do nine years ago).

ASCI Red or ASCI Option Red, was a supercomputer installed at Sandia National Laboratories, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. ASCI Red became operational in 1997 and was retired from service in September, 2005. It was the fastest computer on the TOP500 list from June 1997 to June 2000. It was decommissioned in 2006.

The project was a collaboration between Intel Corporation and Sandia Labs. It was built as stage one of the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) by the United States Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration to build a simulator to replace live nuclear weapon detonation following the moratorium on underground testing started by President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and extended by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

It was a mesh-based (38 X 32 X 2) MIMD massively-parallel processing machine initially consisting of 4,510 compute nodes, 1212 gigabytes of total distributed memory and 12.5 terabytes of disk storage. The original incarnation of this machine used Intel Pentium Pro processors, each clocked at 200 MHz. These were later upgraded to Pentium II OverDrive processors. The system was upgraded to a total of 9298 Pentium II OverDrive processors, each clocked at 333 MHz. It consisted of 104 cabinets, taking up about 2500 square feet (230 m²) and required 850 kW of power (not including air conditioning). The system was designed to use commodity mass-market components and to be very scalable.

So, to say a Radeon HD 4870 is an equivalent is a little bit silly, as the 4870 doesn't have enough memory to run the same type of computations as the ASCI Red supercomputer. It can simply do as many floating point operations in a second as ... (wait for it...) "over nine thousand" Pentium II processors running in parallel.

If you can't afford the supercomputer you need, wait ten years - a specialized desktop can probably tackle the challenge.
edit on 3-2-2011 by Aim64C because: Fixed factual error, fixed gramatical error.

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