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ASCI white on your desktop


ASCI White was a supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

It was a computer cluster based on IBM's commercial RS/6000 SP computer. 512 of these machines were connected together for ASCI White, with 16 processors per node and 8,192 processors in total with 6 terabytes of memory and 160 terabytes of disk storage. Despite these formidable statistics, each processor was slow by 2006 standards, operating at a mere 375 MHz. Therefore, it was almost exclusively used for computations requiring dozens of processors. The computer weighed 106 tons and consumed 3 MW of electricity with a further 3 MW needed for cooling. It had a theoretical processing speed of 7,226 gigaflops. The system ran IBM's AIX operating system.

It was built as stage three of the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) started by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration to build a simulator to replace live WMD testing following the moratorium on testing started by President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and extended by Bill Clinton in 1993.


As of 2008, the fastest PC processors (quad-core) perform over 70 GFLOPS (Intel Core i7 965 XE) in double precision[17]. GPUs are considerably more powerful, for example, nVidia's Tesla C1060 GPU computing card performs around 933 GFLOPS in single precision calculations[18] while AMD's FireStream 9270 reaches 1200 GFLOPS [19]. Additionally, while GPUs are highly efficient at single precision calculations they are not nearly as fast in double precision (DP) operations with the same Nvidia Tesla C1060 capable of 78 GFLOPS in double precision [20] and the AMD FireStream 9270 capable of 240 GFLOPS in double precision [21].

Anybody know where I can get 100 core i7 machines? or just 7 AMD FireStreams if I'm not concerned with accuracy?

Hmm. Better hope Kim Jong-il doesn't realise that south korea is full of computers configured for warcraft...