World's new fastest supercomputer runs on AMD and Cell hardware

Yesterday we noted a test where a stripped-down Cell processor beat the pants off an Intel Core2 Quadro at an h264 transcoding task. Well, now that doesn’t seem so surprising, as the Roadrunner supercomputer built by IBM primarily with Cell processors is now calculating at the rate of one petaflop. That’s a quadrillion operations per second. I never thought I’d see the number quadrillion attached to anything real at all, but here it is.

It uses 13,000 Cell engines and 7,000 AMD dual-core Opterons, all mounted on IBM Blade servers. The statistics are impressive (for instance, it weighs 500,000 pounds) but I’ll let you check them out for yourself. I think they’re going to using them to “extend the life of our nuclear stockpile.” What a noble endeavor!