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Super Computers

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ToiletDuck

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
In reality what is a super computer really used for? I mean who can really afford them? Why are they such a good alternative for these people? And can't people basically build an infinately large computer by networking together several computers. That has to be cheaper. Just buy a big warehouse and 100 thousand boxes or so networked up and BOOM, a super computer. Figure $300 per box thats about 3 mil. Make it 4 for networking cost and such. For 4 million dollars someone could have 100 thousand computers crunching. That's got to be cheaper. I know i'm blind as a bat on this so I'm sure anyone that does know a thing or two about it is just screaming that I'm talking out of my @SS. Which i very well might be! Enlighten me!
 

Bensa

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Well, the networking thing and sending out the data is the problem. The kind of networking they have is extremely efficient, so the computers really act as one computer.

Also, the CPUs used in super-computers, are more efficient at calculations, but wouldn't work in a OS like windows, attleast not very well. They do more, but in a different manner, which is more suited towards task that they give for supercomputers.
 

NovaShine

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Location
Sydney Australia
From some books that ive read, i see that supercomputers are used for tasks such as calculating aerodynamics, as in how air will flow over a particular object and the air pressure at every point possible and also, ive seen it calculate the amount of heat that would be generated on the exterior of a spacecraft on rentry and maybe even [email protected] :D
 

Rutkus

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
Texas
ToiletDuck said:
In reality what is a super computer really used for?

simulations, for war, earthquakes, driving simulators, flight simulators things of that nature that require tons of variables and lots of time that parallel computers can use.

I mean who can really afford them? Why are they such a good alternative for these people?

governments, research companies, huge companies who require this for big decisions its cheaper than deaths or the information is necessary to answer questions that may affect alot of people. also it is easier and most of the time cheaper to plug in numbers for variables that are impossible to recreate otherwise.

And can't people basically build an infinately large computer by networking together several computers. That has to be cheaper. Just buy a big warehouse and 100 thousand boxes or so networked up and BOOM, a super computer. Figure $300 per box thats about 3 mil. Make it 4 for networking cost and such. For 4 million dollars someone could have 100 thousand computers crunching. That's got to be cheaper.

nobody has built them with 100,000 supercomputers yet. its pretty intensive design and programming required to be able to utilize them not only that but a couple thousand computers in a room generates quite a bit of heat and the storage as well. but here is a list of the top 500 supercomputers and their functions. the cheapest one is actually using sony playstation 2's the significance of this is that it is really really cheap. you can get a sony playstation 2 for under $200 so that is deffinately the cheapest and most readily available. also its really cool

I know i'm blind as a bat on this so I'm sure anyone that does know a thing or two about it is just screaming that I'm talking out of my @ss. Which i very well might be! Enlighten me!

/ENLIGHTENED?

tom10167 said:
I think that big warehouse would constitute as a supercomputer, I'm pretty sure a supercomputer is just a bunch of computers(realistically) inside one 'case.'

not really, its the parallel design that constitutes it. getting all the computers to talk to each other and distribute the information so that all the resources are used across all the computers as a whole is what constitutes it. how they operate is measured in teraflops so the more operations it does the faster it is and the more information you can have it handle and the faster you get your answer back hopefully...
 
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ToiletDuck

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
When i asked about the alternative I ment why don't they just build their own for a 50th the price like the G5 one? And what can they really do with the PS2 one? Can it run all calculations that a regular computer could? Could they run [email protected] and such on it?
Duck
 
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ToiletDuck

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
Seriously, if you can make a supercomputer out of a PS2 then I can only imagine that you can modify one you have to run off linux. I have one. Could I just chunk a 120gig HD in it, slap linux on it and have a server? I don't understand what type of processors it has that makes it any kind of computational giant.
 

Rutkus

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
Texas
you can put linux on your ps2 with the right hacks to the hardware just like you can on a xbox. the difference between the two companies is that sony will actually unofficially support you where microsoft will sue you. Xbox's are sold under cost because they hope to make more money in the games you buy. what is inside a ps2 is a 128 bit Emotion Engine. Running at 294.912 Mhz which if i remember right is the chip that SGI machines used to use for their computers. which came from motorola i think? either way, it has the capability to support an operating system if you put a hard drive in it.

linux is compatible on these chipsets since they maintain platform independence so most of these groups of computers use a unix based operating system like linux. you can do any calculations you want as long as time isn't a factor. of course its not necessarily the blinding speed that makes the ps2 supercomputer so interesting, its the fact that it can be done and for the cost that makes it stand out.
 
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ToiletDuck

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
So how does a PS2 stack up? If I was to run [email protected] on a PS2 vs a machine with an athlon 2000+XP in it which one would fold the fastest? If i could run linux on it then I should be able to make a server out of it no? And if i can make a server out of it then I should be able to make a game server out of it. If it can handle the load.
 

Rutkus

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
Texas
Just to put things in perspective, it has 10.5 million transistors, the same number of transistors that the G4 has. so i don't know how the two would compare but i'm not too familiar with folding and how it is measured.
 

deeppow

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2002
Location
Los Alamos, NM
Basically you have to ask what they are then you might consider yourself lucky to not know. There is far far more to it than networking a ton of cpus together, basically that is the easy part.

Realize that there are problems (simulations) that can bring anything anyone can build to its knees. They aren't trick problems but real physics issues a number of which have already been listed. Tons of info out there, e.g. search on ASCI, and be prepared to spend a lot of time reading and learning. Have fun! :cool:
 

9mmCensor

Disabled
Joined
Oct 23, 2003
Location
Banned Camp
There are two types of supercomputers.

The professional custom built ones like Crays and the Earth Simulator.

And teh DIY supercomputers which are like the G5 one or a Beuowolf Cluster.

They are used for anything that is superduper CPU intensive, like physics, math, and simulations (bombs, fallout, earthquakes, who will be the next govenor of california). FOlding is also a thing they COULD use supercomputers for but dont because they are cheap, and want you to do it, by DISTRIBUTING the workload of a supercomputer to various computers.

People that have them include Acedemic Institutions, Corperations (to simulate stuff like where gold or diamonds are), rich folks, and the government (including the millitary)... the NSAs got some for cracking encryptions, the military for doing the bomb sims and whatnot. Medical centers to use them to do the DNA stuff and analize viruses and desiseces.
 

camfortner

Registered
Joined
Oct 6, 2002
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Re: Re: Super Computers

Rutkus said:



nobody has built them with 100,000 supercomputers yet. its pretty intensive design and programming required to be able to utilize them not only that but a couple thousand computers in a room generates quite a bit of heat and the storage as well. but here is a list of the top 500 supercomputers and their functions. the cheapest one is actually using sony playstation 2's the significance of this is that it is really really cheap. you can get a sony playstation 2 for under $200 so that is deffinately the cheapest and most readily available. also its really cool

.

Where did you find that, i know sony is coming up with a linux dev platform for PS2, so that programmers can create and play games on their PS2. it's like 300 bucks and comes with a linux CD and a 40gig HD that fits in the PS2's expansion slot.

I'm sure that you could rework the code in the linux pack to make it do whatever you wanted it to... a USB keyboard/mouse would be a definate plus.

Not to mention if you could get it to browse the internet using a browser, it would be a networked PC appliance that you could surf the internet from your couch on you television :cool:

Hell, if you could do that, my dad would buy me the PS2, just so i could hack it, and use the internet on my 65" HDTV Projection Screen.

Anyone know where i can find more information on it?
 

Rutkus

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
Texas
where did i find what? the sony kit? or the ability to make them supercomputers? i'm pretty sure you can google it up in any case.

from what i understand, the hardware inside a sony playstation 2 is a full computer, it has ram, video ram, a cpu, but no real hard drive. there are kits available on the internet as you said but i haven't had any interest in spending my money on it. besides if i were to want to hack up a console, i would get an xbox to spite microsoft and because it is a faster computer :D not only that but i think xboxes have built in hard drives i think.....

there is a while "society" of people interested in hacking up all kinds of stuff and putting operating systems on it like putting palm OS on ti-85's and stuff like that its really interesting. just gotta search for it.
 

Rutkus

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
Texas
i think in a way yes, distributed computing is similar to supercomputer however its a similar idea but not the same logic or complexity as building a single supercomputer.