Roadrunner, the first supercomputer to break the once-elusive petaflop barrier
—one million billion calculations per second—will be decommissioned on Sunday, March 31.
Once the World’s Fastest Supercomputer; Central to the Success of Stockpile Stewardship
LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, March 29, 2013 — Roadrunner, the first supercomputer to break the once-elusive petaflop barrier—one million billion calculations per second—will be decommissioned on Sunday, March 31.
During its five operational years, Roadrunner, part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program to provide key computer simulations for the Stockpile Stewardship Program, was a workhorse system providing computing power for stewardship of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, and in its early shakedown phase, a wide variety of unclassified science. The IBM system achieved petaflop speed in 2008, shortly after installation at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
"Roadrunner exemplified stockpile stewardship: an excellent team integrating complex codes with advanced computing architectures to ensure a safe, secure and effective deterrent," said Chris Deeney, NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Stewardship. "Roadrunner and its successes have positioned us well to weather the technology changes on the HPC horizon as we implement stockpile modernization without recourse to underground testing."Roadrunner's design was unique, and controversial. It combined two different kinds of processors, making it a “hybrid.” It had 6,563 dual-core general-purpose processors (AMD Opterons™), with each core linked to a special graphics processor (PowerXCell 8i) called a “Cell.” The Cell was an enhanced version of a specialized processor originally designed for the Sony Playstation 3®, adapted specifically to support scientific computing.
Although other hybrid computers existed, none were at the supercomputing scale. Many doubted that a hybrid supercomputer could work, so for Los Alamos and IBM, Roadrunner was a leap of faith.http://www.lanl.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2013/March/03.29-end-of-roadrunner.php