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Supercomputing Technology

Supercomputer Repossessed By State, May Be Sold In Pieces 123

1sockchuck writes "A supercomputer that was the third-fastest machine in the world in 2008 has been repossessed by the state of New Mexico and will likely be sold in pieces to three universities in the state. The state has been unable to find a buyer for the Encanto supercomputer, which was built and maintained with $20 million in state funding. The supercomputer had the enthusiastic backing of Gov. Bill Richardson, who saw the project as an economic development tool for New Mexico. But the commercial projects did not materialize, and Richardson's successor, Susana Martinez, says the supercomputer is a 'symbol of excess.'"
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Supercomputer Repossessed By State, May Be Sold In Pieces

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  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @08:24PM (#42469549) Journal

    Supercomputer is a tool.

    Like any other kind of tool, if used correctly, a supercomputer can be very beneficial, and can generate a lot of profit and/or prestige for its owner.

    But of course, like any other kind of tool, if a supercomputer is ***NOT*** used correctly, it'll become a burden, a waste of money, an eyesore.

  • Re:Oh, boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @08:30PM (#42469599)

    Useful for educational purposes. You give people a chance to execute code on an actual distributed cluster setup without taking away CPU time from actual projects, and it's still going to be a lot more powerful than most people have access to.

  • by scheme ( 19778 ) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @10:17PM (#42470673)

    Whether you're liberal or conservative, does anyone really believe that the government spending tax dollars on expensive speculative investments makes sense?

    You mean like basic research on things that may not be realizable for a decade or two? What's your feeling on the internet which grew out of research on networking in the 70s and 80s. What about the funding for ultrafast networking that's happening now? What about things like the tevatron and LHC which resulted in things like MRIs being made feasible?

    Personally, I'm all for it.

  • Re:Oh, boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @11:00PM (#42471009)

    Actually, for learning how to do good supercomputer programming it might be quite viable. After all most beginner code is horribly inefficient, and most beginner projects are quite small. On anything resembling a "real" supercomputer even the most inefficient code will still finish within seconds - whereas on slow hardware with poor I/O a poorly coded implementation may take many minutes or even hours versus the seconds needed for a well-written program to do the same task. Technically speaking the difference between .1 seconds and 10 seconds is just as informative as the difference between 10 seconds and 17 minutes, but the latter carries far more psychological weight.

    Besides which - how many entry-level tasks can you think of that could actually make use of even a few dozen clustered "real" systems, much less a thousand? Hands-on experience in how to effectively partition a task between numerous nodes shouldn't be underestimated, and it's a rare university that's going to want to turn beginning programmers loose on their big iron, other departments want to use it for real research. A $30-50k cluster on the other hand might be just what the CS department ordered.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @11:07PM (#42471079)

    This is a very old machine. It was a piece of crap the day it was turned on and never got better. It isn't worth the electricity and cooling even when broken up. For the money it will take to dismantle, move, re-install, power, and cool individual racks you could get something smaller, less power hungry, brand new and in support for half the money.

    The whole thing needs to get scrapped. What the state has actually done here is find a way to avoid paying to have it scrapped by "gifting" it to the universities who will discover the above facts after much time and money are already spent and end up having to pay to scrap it themselves.

    It's actually clever (or sneaky/slimy) way to unload a lemon. "Hey here's a car I don't use anymore. Practically new. You tow it and do the 12k in repairs and it's all yours for *free*!"

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai