Nov 29, 2011

Hand Held Super Computer

ASCI Red supercomputer, the first computer capable of doing one trillion calculations per second. Now Intel says that it can put the processing power of ASCI Red in the palm of your hand. Literally.

Intel does this with a new chip, code-named Knights Corner. It crams more than 50 general-purpose Pentium microprocessor cores onto a single chip. All by itself, Knights Corner can perform about 1 trillion mathematical calculations per second. In 1996, it took 72 cabinets of servers for ASCI Red to pull off the same feat.

In June 2011, 17 of the world’s top 500 supercomputers used these graphical processing units, but now that number has jumped to 39

Intel is building a massive 10 petaflop (10 thousand trillion calculations per second) supercomputer called Stampede, out of these next-generation Intel chips. It takes server cards that have a Xeon and Knights Corner processor and slides them into specially designed 7 inch tall server boxes. They expect to get 8 petaflops of performance from the Knights Corner chips and another 2 from the Xeons when Stampede goes live. The 4U servers hold just one card now, but they are designed to eventually hold two, which means Stampede could double its power.

When it goes online in January 2013, Stampede will have 10,000 times the processing power of ASCI Red. As Tim Allen used to say, "Arrrgh, More Power!" Isn't technology wonderful!