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The Google Datacenter = The Great Pyramids
September 12, 2007 12:02 PM   Subscribe

The Seven Wonders of the IT World. Thrill at the camera closest to the North Pole! Consider the computer farthest from Earth! Goggle at the secret Google computing center! Tremble at the world's most powerful computer! Also, be slightly interested in large grid computers, Linux, and the OQO portable computer.
posted by blahblahblah (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Predicting, with confidence, the behavior of nuclear weapons through comprehensive, science-based simulations

We know who you really are, W.O.P.R.
posted by Muddler at 12:54 PM on September 12, 2007


The only winning move is not to play.
posted by Poolio at 12:59 PM on September 12, 2007


Tremble at the world's most powerful computer! FTFY
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:59 PM on September 12, 2007


One of the interesting things now is that data centers now cost more to run then to buy. The computers are literally cheaper then the power it takes to run them.

One of the cool things is that companies now really take electrical accounting into consideration, and are willing to invest in things like solar power and so on, which can be cheaper decade over decade, then Grid power.
posted by delmoi at 1:04 PM on September 12, 2007


IBM BlueGene/L: Clocked speed: Rated fastest in the world after clocking sustained performance of 280.6 trillion operations per second, or teraflops

Soon to be surpassed (by a wide margin) by IBM Roadrunner, which will make BlueGene/L seem like a glorified toaster by comparison:
(A) next-generation supercomputer to be built at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The computer is designed for a performance level of 1.6 petaflops peak and to be the world's first TOP500 Linpack sustained 1.0 petaflops system. IBM will build the computer for the US Department of Energy. It will be a hybrid design with more than 16,000 AMD Opteron cores (~2200 IBM x3755 4U servers, each holding four dual core Opterons, connected by Infiniband) to an equal number of Cell microprocessors resulting in a 1:1 ratio of Cell cores to Opteron cores. The processor architecture used will be the Sony/Toshiba/IBM (STI) Cell Broadband Engine (Cell B. E.) processor which is also used in the PlayStation 3 game console. A newer generation of the Cell will be used, which will be able to do two double precision calculations in its 128 bit registers at full speed with a peak of slightly greater than 100 GFlop/s in double precision.

The Roadrunner will use the Red Hat Linux operating system. The Cell processors will come as IBM Cell blades and be directly-connected using InfiniBand to the x3755 Opteron nodes. When completed, it will be the world's most powerful computer, and cover approximately 12,000 square feet (1,100 square meters). It is expected to be operational in 2008.
All this for the low, low price of ~$100M US Dollars.
posted by edverb at 1:07 PM on September 12, 2007


things like solar power

But what will they do AT NIGHT?!
/troll
posted by mrnutty at 1:08 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's very simple really. They'll use generators to run huge lamps which will power the solar cells.
posted by euphorb at 1:11 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


As an aside, I'm a little ashamed that I even feel the need to put "/troll" in my comment to show I'm being sarcastic. I mean, this isn't slashdot. But I don't want to be mistaken for SCDB, either.
posted by mrnutty at 1:24 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


But what will they do AT NIGHT?!

The only reasonable thing. Giant flywheels.
posted by delmoi at 2:14 PM on September 12, 2007


Giant flywheels.

Giant mutant flies on wheels ... that's brilliant! Get me the Pentagon.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:24 PM on September 12, 2007


But what will they do AT NIGHT?!

Pump water up behind a dam during the day. Go hydro at night.
posted by Mr_Zero at 2:25 PM on September 12, 2007


All this for the low, low price of ~$100M US Dollars.

For perspective, around half the cost of one day of the Iraq war.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:28 PM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's very simple really. They'll use generators to run huge lamps which will power the solar cells.

Personally, I think they should power the computers by capturing the data center's waste heat.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:43 PM on September 12, 2007


I wanted an OQO with a white hot desire. But after taking two years longer than it was supposed to before coming to market, and then costing nearly twice what they had said it was, I stopped caring.

Which is a shame, because conceptually it was a good idea.
posted by quin at 3:19 PM on September 12, 2007


But what will they do AT NIGHT?!

The same thing they do every night, Pinky--try to take over the world!
posted by kirkaracha at 3:57 PM on September 12, 2007


I wanted an OQO with a white hot desire. But after taking two years longer than it was supposed to before coming to market, and then costing nearly twice what they had said it was, I stopped caring.

I fiddled with an OQO at a electronic shop once, and my eyes are just now getting back to normal. That screen resolution makes everything tiny. You can't hold it at arm's length, you have to place it right in front of your face. Meh.

Forget about the OQO, I'm ready for the EEE!
posted by zardoz at 5:36 PM on September 12, 2007


"Tremble at the world's most powerful computer!"

Alright everybody, repeat after me. The Storm botnet is not the world's most powerful supercomputer. The Storm botnet is not even a supercomputer, and that article was terrible.

In the scientific community, it's always a bit of a challenge to get the public interested in spending more money on scientific tools like computers. But if the computer is "the fastest in the world!", and it certainly will be for awhile, that's how technology works after all, then the public and the press like that, and you can get support from governors and private foundations and Department of Energy directors.

That's how this whole TOP500 list got started really, it's like an international pissing contest for computational scientists, but instead of comparing how fast their Porsche is, they cluster around, load the LINPACK benchmark on the computer, and then spend half a year tweaking it until they get the best sustained floating point performance in the world. Incidentally, good LINPACK performance is a fairly decent measure of how effective the computer will be at solving real problems like weather modeling and protein folding.

The Storm Botnet is made up of a bunch of shitty several year-old computers (though fast CPUs aren't necessary to make a supercomputer fast, Bluegene/L technology uses 700 mhZ processors), with various levels of Internet connections, some of them not even guaranteed to be online at any time. This is an example of a grid computer, and grid computers don't do well on LINPACK, because it requires fast interprocessor communication for good performance, something that's pretty hard to achieve when your processors are distributed over the globe instead of packed into rack storage in a single room.

I think the Storm Botnet is interesting, but this myth that it's the most powerful supercomputer in the world is just inane. One of the features of Storm is that it's relatively stealthy. What do you think the owners of the all the infected computers would do if their computers became very sluggish and unresponsive, their hard drive space filled up, and their Internet connection started to suck? Finally run an anti-virus scanner I'd bet.
posted by onalark at 8:30 AM on September 13, 2007


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