Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Supercomputing Government Hardware News

US Supercomputer Lead Sparks Russian Govt's Competitive Drive 74

Posted by timothy
from the ever-since-that-damn-satellite dept.
CWmike writes "Russia's launch of Sputnik in 1957 triggered a crisis of confidence in the US that helped drive the creation of a space program. Now, Russia is comparing the US's achievements in supercomputing with theirs, and they don't like what they see. In a speech on Tuesday, Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, criticized his country's IT industry almost to the point of sarcasm for failing to develop supercomputing technology, and urged a dramatic change in Russia's use of high-performance computing. Medvedev, at the opening address of a Security Council Meeting on Supercomputers in Moscow, told attendees that 476 out of the 500 supercomputers on the Top500 list were manufactured in the United States. 'Therefore, in general, our situation is very difficult,' he said."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Supercomputer Lead Sparks Russian Govt's Competitive Drive

Comments Filter:
  • by Haffner (1349071)
    In Soviet Russia, you make supercomputers into Playstation 3!
  • Remarkable Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deathcow (455995) * on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:32PM (#28870737)

    Send some dudes to America with some cash and buy some nice computing equipment. Do you have some serious computing to do? Or do you have a serious need to build new computers?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Eddy Luten (1166889)
      It would be more frugal for Russia to send these guys to Taiwan or China instead since all of the technology is being developed and manufactured there.
    • by wjousts (1529427)

      Send some dudes to America with some cash and buy some nice computing equipment. Do you have some serious computing to do? Or do you have a serious need to build new computers?

      I think the later. It's more a question of national pride than a pressing need to do some super computing. That and a fear of falling too far behind in technology.

      • by j-stroy (640921)
        Which is worse, falling behind in technology, or failing to effectively integrate technologies?

        The brilliance of russian thrift and efficiency (no doubt brought about by scarcity) is unmatched by the west's treadmill of newer and better, which is disruptive to integration and has lead to many technological dead ends and restarts. Not to mention inability to reproduce past results.

        An example is their space launch systems that run like clockwork, while ARES designs call for a 6 ton rubber damper be added.
        • by Kartu (1490911)
          Lunacy? Do Russians have anything remotelly comparable to ARES please? USSR have created something comparable to von Braun's Saturn V (which did run like clockwork, unlike what Soviet project has produced) only in mid 80-th.
    • by Brigadier (12956)

      I doubt the Soviet Union my mistake Russia will make this mistake again see link.

      http://slashdot.org/it/04/02/02/1153243.shtml [slashdot.org]

    • I hate an arms-race as much as the next guy, but imagine if all the showmanship from whose nukepeen was bigger in the cold war could go towards supercomputing or fuel efficiency as the primary goal instead of a spin-off.

      No cold war fear, just politicians whipping out their huge... processors... as part of a rallying call.

      So, drop the gauntlet Medvedev, or e-trousers as the case may be.

      -Matt

    • USSR used to be a major aircraft manufacturer, be it military or civil (Tu-104 was the first reliable jet airliner, Tu-204 was the second fly by wire airliner and so on). Nowadays the Russian aircraft industry has fallen behind Brazilia which hurts both the wallet and the national pride.

      So it is both - a need for serious computing and serious need to build new computers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With most of the work done in developing motherboards, stamping silicon, and exporting the machines done in China, Russia can buy their computers from the same source as the US.

    Plus, with the advances in malware, why own a computercomputer when you can pwn it?

  • I thought (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I thought Russia led in distributed node supercomputers (aka botnets). Shows what I know.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what? Suddenly we have to start building supercomputers in Russia?
    Lack of supercomputers means nobody needs them. That's an indication that Russia is falling behind in technology in general. You can't fix this just by building some supercomputers.
    Something more fundamental must be done: fight corruption, establish rule of law, create infrustructure. Then the high-tech industry will emerge by itself. No need for the government to build supercomputers.

  • Imagine a beawulf cluster of these?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Mr. President, if I may speak freely, the Russkie talks big, but frankly, we think he's short of know how. I mean, you just can't expect a bunch of ignorant peons to understand a machine like some of our boys. And that's not meant as an insult, Mr. Ambassador, I mean, you take your average Russkie, we all know how much guts he's got. Hell, lookit look at all them them Nazis killed off and they still wouldn't quit."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:44PM (#28870941)

    From chernenko@kremvax.UUCP Sun Apr 1 15:02:52 1984
    Relay-Version: version B 2.10.1 6/24/83 (MC840302); site mcvax.UUCP
    Posting-Version: version B 2.10.1 4/1/84 (SU840401); site kremvax.UUCP
    Path: mcvax!moskvax!kremvax!chernenko
    From: chernenko@kremvax.UUCP
    Newsgroups: net.general,eunet.general,net.politics,eunet.politics
    Subject: USSR on Usenet
    Message-ID:
    Date: Sun, 1-Apr-84 15:02:52 GMT
    Article-I.D.: kremvax.0001
    Posted: Sun Apr 1 15:02:52 1984
    Date-Received: Mon, 1-Apr-84 12:26:02 GMT
    Organization: MIIA, Moscow
    Lines: 41

    Well, today, 840401, this is at last the Socialist Union of Soviet
    Republics joining the Usenet network and saying hallo to everybody.

    One reason for us to join this network has been to have a means of
    having an open discussion forum with the American and European people
    and making clear to them our strong efforts towards attaining peaceful
    coexistence between the people of the Soviet Union and those of the
    United States and Europe.

    We have been informed that on this network many people have given strong
    anti-Russian opinions, but we believe they have been misguided by their
    leaders, especially the American administration, who is seeking for war
    and domination of the world.
    By well informing those people from our side we hope to have a possibility
    to make clear to them our intentions and ideas.

    Some of those in the Western world, who believe in the truth of what we
    say have made possible our entry on this network; to them we are very
    grateful. We hereby invite you to freely give your comments and opinions.

    Here are the data for our backbone site:

    Name: moskvax
    Organization: Moscow Institute for International Affairs
    Contact: K. Chernenko
    Phone: +7 095 840401
    Postal-Address: Moscow, Soviet Union
    Electronic-Address: mcvax!moskvax!kremvax!chernenko
    News: mcvax kremvax kgbvax
    Mail: mcvax kremvax kgbvax

    And now, let's open a flask of Vodka and have a drink on our entry on
    this network. So:

                            NA ZDAROVJE!

    --
            K. Chernenko, Moscow, USSR ...{decvax,philabs}!mcvax!moskvax!kremvax!chernenko

    • by hughk (248126)
      This was a spoof post, but hilarious at the time. Yes, the Russians has some VAXes but mostly Robotron copies of PDP-11s and VAXes - but nobody would have dared make such a post.
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:47PM (#28871001)
    I thought Russia was focusing on botnets. Most of these have a lot more processing power than the fastest supercomputers.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I thought Russia was focusing on botnets. Most of these have a lot more processing power than the fastest supercomputers.

      The expensive part of supercomputing is not the processors, it's having enough throughput on the backend to feed those CPUs.

      • Easy. Spam, fast-flux dick pill hosting, and DDoS workloads are what are technically known as "embarrassingly parallel" workloads.

  • 476 out of the 500 supercomputers on the Top500 list were manufactured in the United States.

    Yeah right! I don't think a single PC has been manufactured, assembled, and shipped from this country in which every component was dug out of the ground, refined, processed, manufactured, packaged, assembled, and distributed, from this country-- Not in a long time. That said, if Russia's so damned worried about our CPU designers, why not recruit a few? I know of at least one that quit the x86 development team from Intel muttering something about "not dealing with a unit of time smaller than a season" after

    • by Cyberax (705495)

      Russia has solid CPU designs which are used (unsurprisingly) in military hardware and other special applications. For example, these beauties: http://www.mcst.ru/22-23.htm [www.mcst.ru] are nearly indestructible. So there's expertise.

      However, so far Russia lacks expertise required to create fabs.

      • by nbauman (624611)
        Loren Graham, the MIT professor who probably understood Soviet science better than any other American, described the "blackboard theory":

        Anything you can do with a blackboard and chalk, the Soviets were great at.

        But they can't do anything that requires them to actually make something.

        Graham said that this was ironic for a movement founded on materialism.

        He had an entertaining story about how he went to GUM and asked the saleslady in the electronics department if he could buy a personal computer.

        Sh

        • by Cyberax (705495)

          Yes, sounds about right.

        • by hughk (248126)

          Loren Graham, the MIT professor who probably understood Soviet science better than any other American, described the "blackboard theory": Anything you can do with a blackboard and chalk, the Soviets were great at. But they can't do anything that requires them to actually make something.

          I arrived in Russia post Soviet times, in the mid nineties. My Russian colleagues would tell me about the issues with technology. Russians are extremely competent engineers but they are quite conservative. Also their tec

    • by u38cg (607297)
      A computer? Amercians can't even manufacture a pencil. [econlib.org]
  • If Medvenev offended with IT industry in Russia, he should stop corruption in his country which led money earned from oil and gas to be spent for luxury cars and buildings. If you visit Moscow all you could see expensive cars flooding around but technology in government is years old and not used efficiently. If they have money to buy those cars, they can buy or even produce those CPUs as well.

    He should know that all talents of Russia and brains are going to EU countries and US once they find an option to
  • I recall couple years ago Russia bought entire decommissioned Dresden AMD fab. Good luck competing using manufacturing processes of yesteryear.
    It seems like the best product of their nanotech push so far are midget kremlin rulers with their delusion of grandeur.

    And yes, I used to know something about semiconductor industry in ex-USSR

  • "Therefore, comrade generals, our situation is very difficult," he said.

    There, fixed that for ya Comrade Medvedev. Three cheers for cold-war style rhetoric!!

  • Suddenly MikeZ tutorial is playing in my head
    If you get a counter hit, you can do massive damage to the capitalist regime. [youtube.com]
    NOBODY IS SAFE FROM THE POWER OF SCIENCE!
    Been playing way to much of it.
  • So, why didn't Russia buy SGI earlier this year? Instant membership to the supercomputer club.

    Plus, the chance to screw up the SGI logo yet again.
  • Who needs supercomputers when you've got million-node botnets?

  • For those of you that didn't RTFA, this is the bit that put Russia's problem into its proper perspective:

    Although supercomputers are widely used in Western countries to, for instance, build aircraft, Medvedev said few aircraft in Russia have been built using supercomputers. Most of their design today is still being done on paper...

    Contrary to popular misconception, Russia's economy doesn't just depend on oil and gas. It also depends on exporting weapons and other military equipment. For that country to

  • Russia already has some of the largest and most powerful cluster computers in the world! All he needs to do is look to the Russian mafia and their collections of zombified computers that they control worldwide!

    "In Russia, th3 p4wned kl0wd z0mb13s 0wnz3d U!"

  • I recently read this article http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bright/Tolstoy/patriotismandgovt.html [pitzer.edu] , Patriotism and Government, By Leo Tolstoy.

    I read it in Russian, so I do not know about the quality of this translation.

    It sounded very convincing. What it has to do with supercomputers? Try to read the text. The answer is there.

  • What are "Supercomputer Lead Sparks"? How are they affected by RoHS? ...I think my parser failed on the sentence after that point.

  • Hmmm, reminds me when I was reading some singularity stuff, and they referenced a "hard" AI takeoff being driven by a rivalry between nations for hardware computing power to drive the birth of the first AI. I agree, it sounds really wacky (and there's a fairly high probability it is), but hell, this could be as important as fire, so I figure it's worth thinking about.

    WTF do they want this computing power for, I wonder
  • ... yeah, right.

    Even a moderate load of smarts is enough to figure that it's cheaper to let someone else do the R&D the build a copy. Just look at pretty much all aircraft they've built and compare with ours.

    Either this guy is ignorant to the point of incompetence, or he's just playing wag-the-weenie national ego games. They built stuff very much like ours when we were enemies. They're allies now.

    • by smithmc (451373) *

      ... yeah, right.

      Even a moderate load of smarts is enough to figure that it's cheaper to let someone else do the R&D the build a copy. Just look at pretty much all aircraft they've built and compare with ours.

      Uh... yeah. How did that turn out, again? I forget...

  • I noticed that the speech was given at a Security Council meeting, yet nowhere in TFA did they mention anything about security. President Medvedev talked about building better airplanes but it seems he glossed over the security concerns.

    It's an incredibly huge security issue for them. If our supercomputers spank their supercomputers, then we can decrypt their traffic but they cannot decrypt ours. They might as well just blog their state secrets in clear text.

    Always consider what they're not saying.

  • Does that install in the standard 5.25 bay?
    Perhaps I'll get on myself when the prices come down and they stop "sparking".

  • First Putin's government pushed "GLONASS" system, an alternative to GPS. Oh, it still doesn't work and nobody expects it ever will.
    Then, Putin's government pushes "Nanotechnologies" thingy, which brings as many results as "glonass" push and becomes one of the popular jokes.
    They also push for "brand new" and "deadly as hell" "Bulava" rocket, which keeps exploding "because of sabotage" and because, "when so many factories are involved in producing it, it's absolutelly impossible to control it's quality" (no
    • Vote parent up. There's a pattern emerging here. It's what a lot of corporate types call an "inability to execute".

      Could be that all these grandiose-but-ultimately-fruitless hare brained schemes are actually a symptom of a more serious underlying malady: a very low self-esteem in the Russian political establishment. This manifests itself in bullying countries in their near abroad, and 19th-century style political posturing when that they REALLY need to do, is knuckle down and do the unglamourous grunt wor

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

Working...