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April 2, 2013

US lab decommissions first Petaflop supercomputer

The supercomputer had reached a speed of 1.026 petaflops

By CBR Staff Writer

Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US has decommissioned the first petaflop supercomputer named Roadrunner, which was first such computer to clock one million billion calculations per second.

The supercomputer was built by IBM in 2008 to keep a check on the US nuclear weapons stockpile and had a speed of 1.026 petaflops.

Roadrunner Supercomputer

During five years of its operation, Roadrunner was used to provide computer simulations for the Stockpile Stewardship Program, as part of the US National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) programme.

NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Stewardship Chris Deeney said, "Roadrunner exemplified stockpile stewardship: an excellent team integrating complex codes with advanced computing architectures to ensure a safe, secure and effective deterrent."

"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," Deeney said.

Roadrunner was based on the IBM QS22 blades and x86 chips from Advanced Micro Devices, had 278 refrigerator-size server racks that connected 6,562 dual-core AMD Opteron processors and 12,240 Cell chips.

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According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the computer will be dismantled after some experiments are carried out on its operating system in April 2013.

Los Alamos National Laboratory director Gary Grider said Roadrunner got everyone thinking in new ways about how to build and use a supercomputer.

"Even in death, we are trying to learn from Roadrunner," Grider added.

In 2012, the Roadrunner was replaced by the Cielo, which is claimed by the laboratory to have higher speeds than its predecessor.

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