Over the last week, we managed to get some of the nation's biggest and baddest supercomputers to take a moment away from their gigabusy schedules and tell us what they were working on. They were happy to share.
Ranking: 3 (an ongoing upgrade should make it no. 1 by 2013)
Vital Stats: System: Cray XT5-HE. Processor: AMD x86_64 Opteron Six Core 2600 MHz. There are 224,162 cores in there, producing 2.3 million billion calculations per second (petaflops). With a pending upgrade that number should be more like 300,000 cores, including a bunch of GPUs optimized for parallel computing problems. This is the world's third-largest--soon-to-be largest once again--supercomputer. Oak Ridge National Labs' world-beating platform works on everything from nuclear physics to clean energy science to nano-scale materials modeling.
So What Are You Working On Today?
• Calculating a water molecule's adsorption energy and geometry on a sheet of graphene, which could greatly inform our understandings of both hydrogen storage in batteries and corrosion on surfaces.
• Defining the structure of atomic nuclei via research that could inform everything from nuclear fission and fusion to carbon-dating to nuclear physics on the whole.
• Modeling various industrial catalysts, the likes of which could boost industry in a range of sectors--including energy and pharmaceuticals--as well as advance clean energy production, storage, and transmission.
• Exploring battery chemistry, particularly as it pertains to rechargeable lithium-air batteries that could hold ten times the energy of lithium-ion batteries of the same weight (think better electric cars).
• Simulating new kinds of light water reactor technology that could extend the life of next-gen nuclear plants.
• Simulating diamond nanocrystals simply to better understand their properties, which could have impacts anywhere from chemical engineering to materials science.
• Working on the next big steps toward constructing ITER, the international experimental nuclear fusion reactor.
All that? Not bad for a day's work! When Jaguar's upgrade is complete in late 2012 or early 2013, it will jump from 2.3 petaflops to a peak performance somewhere between 10 and 20 petaflops (that's 10-20 million billion calculations per second). No wonder, then, that ORNL will be renaming the supercomputer Titan.
Do they spend the supercomputers first few years finding out how to make a better supercomputer? Doing so would make the growth of processing power grow faster.
There is one major flaw when using supercomputers to design new supercomputers; they get emotional. When supercomputers are used to design superior versions, progress is slow due to their apprehension of obsoletism. People, much like computers, become depressed when they realize they are going to eventually be "retired". What makes it worse for supercomputers is that Moore's law is against them, which often causes jealousy between the computer and engineers. IBM ran into huge problems when they tried to use Watson to develop it's successor: engineers couldn't stand the crying of a computerized male voice. After that fiasco they also noted that when preparing for Jeopardy, "Who is, Your mom" and "What is, Uranus" were statistically more likely to be selected as answers. Once they told Watson he was "the best computer ever" and "He would be around forever", things returned to normal.
LOL as if computers have feelings.
what i dont understand is why popsci couldnt just say quadrillion instead of saying million-billions. we aren't retards, and a million billions is far more confusing than quadrillions.
you would have to have the iq of an ape not to understand quadrillion>trillion>billion etc, why make us have to figure out that a million billions is a quadrillion.
Something is off, strange. I see a jaguar, a ceiling tile hanging down. Why not show the awe and wonderful computer. Why not show us the engineers and programmers. They keep repeating the same jaguar picture and nothing else.
I like to see something very real, tangible.
The pictures are a billboard cheap odd advertisement and seem to me to hide something. I just do not get it?
The old Mainframe computers of the past were always shown. Now I see an office space, a billboard and somebody was lazy and let the ceiling tile hang.
It might be clearer, but would that be on the short or long scale?
Don't forget that not everyone uses the same scale, making a "million billion" a bit clearer than a quadrillion.
This is a super computer that processes 1's and 0's. I cannot think intelligently really. If they were to dedicate the computer to producing a AI routine it would be most impressive but unlikely to be able to self-evolve itself even thought it may appear to be great at communication and simulating human responses.
True AI is something people of earth have yet to witness except in exotic sci-fi movies. We will know it when it comes, the AI will start questioning its very existence and purpose, that is when.
So in other words, you can build a super-computer that can calculate infinite amount of complex seemingly impossible to answer questions, yet it still won't be smart enough to label intelligence.
Mind my typo's, seems I cannot think intelligently atm either. :(
Where can I buy one of these to play Battle Field 3 on?
<a href="http://www.google.com">google</a> it!
are you joking or are you serious? AI does not mean a computer has any emotions, just that it can mimic them. nowadays, they aren't even always good at that. if you really aren't joking, you either watch way too much sci-fi, are naive, or are paranoid.
personally, i think this is sort of cool. the people at ORNL are smart to be applying all that processing power to useful problems. way to go, ORNL! i wonder how often Jaguar/Titan finishes one of those problems and produces a useful result...
In about 7 1/2 million years, Jaguar will smugly announce "42".
In response to "Grunt" (10/31/11 at 10:23 pm) - that is not a billboard. What you are seeing is the first rank (row) of the multitude of cabinets comprising Jaguar.
@Grunt Thats not a hanging ceiling tile. Its a steel column that is framed in sheetrock, so there is additional places for misc power panels, receptacles and egress lighting to mount.