Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Speed

You know, the *third* fastest computer *in the world* right now is an off the shelf Apple Macintosh system.

I don't think this story is getting the credit it deserves.

Never before has a contender for fastest computer been an off the shelf consumer computer.

Sure, they needed 1,100 of them. but the cost overall was far less than any of the other fastest computers in the world.

I think it's rather amazing.

Round of Applause
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I believe the world record for the fastest computer is 243km/s, and goes to a G5 system that was thrown out of an airplane at an altitude of 10,000 meters.

Alyosha`
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I know a raecar driver...I bet I could bet that by getting him to carry one with him..

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Er.  km/hr, I meant.

Notice that I said *world* record.  The fastest in the known universe currently goes to the system on Voyager I, hurtling out of the solar system at around 60,000 km/hr.

Alyosha`
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

My abacus is travelling much faster than that relative to galaxy NC104-D15.

It all adds up relatively
Thursday, November 13, 2003

Doesn't seem too exciting to me.  Maybe five years ago or so, the world's fastest computers were built out of thousands of Pentiums (Pros?).  If I'm remembering right, the first of these systems were truely ground breaking, blowing away the previous records.  I haven't been keeping up with the competition but it wouldn't surprise me if Pentium based systems were still up at the top. 

SomeBody
Thursday, November 13, 2003

I have to agree with Somebody on this. I believe Beowulf clusters have been around for a long time using commodity PC systems. Not sure what you mean by off the shelf, because these PC systems are all built with off the shelf components.

I do think this is an impressive accomplishment, but I also wish the Top 500 including a price per GF on each of these systems. I would think that PC hardware would still be cheaper, but would be pleased if this were false – I have G5 envy. I’ll stick to my PC with my meager budget.

m
Thursday, November 13, 2003

"five years ago or so, the world's fastest computers were built out of thousands of Pentiums"

What ranking then? And what ranking now?

Top 500 and top 3 are very different things.

Round of Applause
Thursday, November 13, 2003

Top 85th in 2002 was a beowolf cluster:

http://www.nat.per.sg/blog/archives/000149.html

ho hum. 85th huh.

In 1999, the highest ranking Linux cluster was at 129th place:

http://slashdot.org/articles/99/06/11/2241253.shtml

Yawn....

And here's the list as of June:

http://www.top500.org/list/2003/06/?page

Hm well you are right - Linux Beowolf cluster at #3.

Round of Applause
Thursday, November 13, 2003

I thought this was going to be an article on meth.  Mmm speed.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Thursday, November 13, 2003

MY EMPLOYER IS MAKING ME WORK TOO MANY HOURS DUE TO OUTSORSING COMPETITION AND I AM HAVING TO TAKE METH TO STAY AWAKE BUT I FIND THAT MY CODING IS SUFFERING WHAT SHOLUD I DO

FREAK
Thursday, November 13, 2003

I think what SomeBody was talking about was not Beowulf clusters but the practice of making supercomputers from n (where n is any decent size number) from off the shelf processors. The setups are very different.


Thursday, November 13, 2003

I like the Beowolf style super computers, but they have their limits if done cheaply (ie. with commodity networking and switches). Red Storm is Cray's new effort (with some info on why it is special):

http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/ccn/salishan2003/pdf/camp.pdf

It runs 2 operating systems, but one of them is Linux :)

Dominic Fitzpatrick
Thursday, November 13, 2003

I suppose that if IBM, or Cray/SGI or Sun build their big iron with parts that are kept on shelves in warehouses, then they too are "off the shelf"!

This is boring. I hope we do not degenerate into /. a couple of years back where any hardware review would be met with
"Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those"

Tapiwa
Thursday, November 13, 2003

If we had a Beowulf cluster of /., would it produce Shakespeare?

Philo

Philo
Thursday, November 13, 2003

The monkeys would get there first.

Tapiwa
Thursday, November 13, 2003

I'm pretty sure that what I'm thinking of was Los Alamos National Laboratory's ASCI system, currently listed as #2 on that top 500 site (though it looks like they've switched to Alpha processors?).  A quick search of the web says it was built in 1997 and used over 9000 Pentium Pros for nuclear weapon simulation.  The world's first computer to break a teraflop. 

SomeBody
Thursday, November 13, 2003

And finally...

The ITC has banned the PowerMac G5 ad from British screens after it upheld eight separate complaints that objected to the computer maker's slogan. http://www.silicon.com/hardware/desktops/0,39024645,39116857,00.htm

Simon Lucy
Friday, November 14, 2003

http://arrakis.ncsa.uiuc.edu/ps2/cluster.php

"The NCSA has constructed a Playstation 2 Linux cluster as a test bench for scientific computation on "toy" hardware. The cluster consists of 65 compute nodes, 4 user login and development nodes, and 1 prototype node for software installation tests. All the nodes run the Sony Linux distribution for Playstation 2."

Give me enough 386's and I can do anything.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, November 14, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home