Record-setting Roadrunner supercomputer obsolete, retiring

Posted By Kristen Butler,  |  April 1, 2013 at 12:39 PM
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The IBM-built supercomputer was designed to model the decay of the US nuclear weapons arsenal and was the fastest in history at more than one quadrillion floating point operations per second -- one million billion, or a "petaflop."

But now Roadrunner is obsolete, and even though it's still one of the 22 fastest in the world, the power bill isn't worth it. Based at the US Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Roadrunner will be studied for a while and then ultimately dismantled, according to an announcement Friday.

Roadrunner lost its world's-fastest title in November 2009 to Jaguar, another Department of Energy supercomputer. Jaguar hit 1.76 petaflops to take the title, and it still exists as part of an even newer cluster called Titan. Titan took the top spot in the November 2012 supercomputers list with a speed of 17.6 petaflops.

In November 2012, Roadrunner required 2,345 kilowatts to hit 1.042 petaflops and a world ranking of #22. The University of Tokyo's Oakleaf-FX at #21 required only 1,177 kilowatts, and University of Edinburgh's DiRAC at #23 required just 493 kilowatts to deliver 1.035 petaflops.

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