For the past several years, a team of University of California astrophysicists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been using a cluster of roughly 300 computer processors to model some of the most intriguing aspects of the Universe. Called the Space Simulator, this de facto supercomputer has not only proven itself to be one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, but has also demonstrated that modeling and simulation of complex phenomena, from supernovae to cosmology, can be done on a fairly economical basis.
According to Michael Warren, one of the Space Simulator’s three principal developers, "Our goal was to acquire a computer which would deliver the highest performance possible on the astrophysics simulations we wanted to run, while remaining within the modest budget that we were allotted. Building the Space Simulator turned out to be a excellent choice."
The Space Simulator is a 294-node Beowulf cluster with theoretical peak performance just below 1.5 teraflops, or trillions of floating point operations per second. Each Space Simulator processing node looks much like a computer you would find at home than at a supercomputer center, consisting of a Pentium 4 processor, 1 gigabyte of 333 MHz SDRAM, an 80 gigabyte hard drive and a gigabit Ethernet card. Each individual node cost less than $1,000 and the entire system cost under $500,000. The cluster achieved Linpack performance of 665.1 gigaflops per second on 288 processors in October 2002, making it the 85th fastest computer in the world, according to the 20th TOP500 list (see www.top500.org). A gigaflop is a billion floating-point operations per second. Since 2002, the Space Simulator has moved down to #344 on the most recent TOP500 list as faster computers are built, but Warren and his colleagues are not worried. They built the Space Simulator to do specific astrophysics research, not to compete with other computers. It was never designed to compete with Laboratory’s massive supercomputers and, in fact, is not scalable enough to do so.
Todd Hanson | EurekAlert!
Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences