IBM's RoadRunner Breaks Petaflop Barrier

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ibmIBM announced Monday morning that they have officially broken one petaflop with their latest installment of the RoadRunner supercomputer.  The new machine, destined for Los Alamos National Lab later this summer, performed the Linpack benchmark at 1.026 PF [1.026 quadrillion floating point operations per second].   Once released, it will edge out its BlueGene/L cousin on the Top500.

What does it take to reach 1-PF? IBM used 13,824 AMD Opteron cores coupled with 12,960 Cell eDP processors.  All this at a cost to LANL  of ~$120 million.

The most interesting aspect of this story is the hybrid nature of the RoadRunner machine.  We’ve all seen musings in the HPC industry surrounding hybrid platforms.  Few have been brave enough to make a run at constructing a usable hybrid platform.  Several hybrid platforms exist in specific markets, eg genomic science and financial services.  None, however, were designed specifically for general workloads.  Is this a sign of things to come?  Too early to tell.  However, it certainly makes sense to build hybrid platform and subsequently enable users to place operations on the most advantageous hardware.

For more info on the RoadRunner 1-PF news, read HPCWire’s full writeup.


  1. Another bit of information, they used Moab and Torque to run the job.