Print 33 comment(s) - last by beemercer.. on Feb 10 at 7:44 PM

Cross section of the 14 TeV ATLAS detector relying on the UW processor - Courtesy CERN
What good is a particle accelerator if you can't take pictures?

Come this April, CERN will get another weapon in the search for the infamous Higgs-Boson particle.  When particles collide in a particle accelerator, the collision occurs so briefly that scientists can only infer what takes place during the collision by analyzing the remaining components left afterwards.  Analyzing that data on the fly takes a lot of calculations, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison has just the solution; a $6M USD grid array processor that can analyze a trillion bits per second. 

The "Regional Calorimeter Trigger" will have the most throughput of any single application processor array to date when it is installed in CERN's Large Hadron Collider this April.  The project took almost a decade to complete with dozens of test trials across various particle accelerations all over the world.

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Ebps video processor!
By oupei on 2/7/2006 12:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
the confusion can be avoided if we refer to it as an Exa-bit per second processor.

personally, i think if you're gonna publish the news article in english, you should use the short scale, as all english-speaking nations use short scale, according to wikipedia.

RE: Ebps video processor!
By oTAL on 2/7/2006 2:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm... I prefer the long-scale.... but that's what we use in Portugal. A dude from britain commented above that they use the long-scale too, but he maight have been wrong (he said a billion is a million millions).

RE: Ebps video processor!
By Griswold on 2/7/2006 2:18:08 PM , Rating: 1
He was right, a billion is a million millions in long scale and the brits officially used long scale until 2005.

RE: Ebps video processor!
By timmiser on 2/7/2006 7:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying that the Brits don't use long scale after 2005? I didn't realize they changed.

RE: Ebps video processor!
By Griswold on 2/7/2006 2:13:32 PM , Rating: 1
All english speaking nations... let's see, thats what, like two? USA and since last year, the UK.

RE: Ebps video processor!
By The Cheeba on 2/7/2006 2:58:22 PM , Rating: 3
Australia and Canada are not really countries.


RE: Ebps video processor!
By NullSubroutine on 2/7/2006 6:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
nor is india

Processing trillions bits
By Unreal on 2/7/2006 7:12:47 AM , Rating: 2
1 trillion bits per second doesnt sound that much to me. For example a X1900XT has 48 ps units , roughly saying of 128bit each, and their frequency at 650Mhz. Hence processing rate in bits is 48*128*650Mhz=3993600Mbits/s=3993.6 billion=3.9936 trillions bits per second that is about 4 times the computational power of that processor..
Of course the term processing in each case may differ... X1900XT units can add, multiply or multiply and add at each cycle. I dont know what kind of processing that CPU would do.

By jamesbond007 on 2/7/2006 8:45:41 AM , Rating: 2
What's the scale on that picture? Looks like a ladder in the background, but I can't tell for sure. If that's the case, it is more like a carousel!

RE: Processing trillions bits
By Matty P on 2/7/2006 8:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
What you need to remember when looking at European scientific articles is that the real (or long) definition of a trillion is 10 to the power 18 rather than the American shortend 10 to the power 12 (anyone know how to do superscript?). So you need another 6 zeros! ie, 0.0000039936 trillion bits for the Radeon X1900XT.

RE: Processing trillions bits
By Unreal on 2/7/2006 9:11:58 AM , Rating: 2
Hm, the article seemed for an American scientific article as it speaks of wisconsin-maddison university. However i wasnt aware of the ambiguity of the term trillion.

RE: Processing trillions bits
By Matty P on 2/7/2006 9:39:39 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, the thing that matters is that its for CERN, which is in Switzerland :-) The confusion over the naming of large numbers starts at a billion and then just continues! In Britain we take a billion to mean a million million, then a trillion is a million million million... There are loads of other names to fill in the bits between.

Title is using the wrong "Trillion"
By Guuts on 2/7/2006 5:27:44 AM , Rating: 2
Should be the unit "trillion," not the name of the multi-IM program, "Trillian."

RE: Title is using the wrong "Trillion"
By The Cheeba on 2/7/2006 5:46:16 AM , Rating: 2
But which one sounds better? mmm... Trillian bits....


By Clauzii on 2/7/2006 12:55:35 PM , Rating: 1
LOL - Blown to Trillian bits...:)

By tarv on 2/7/2006 12:23:03 PM , Rating: 3
Whew, I thought this was kutagari hyping the PS3.

By Unreal on 2/7/2006 11:30:01 AM , Rating: 3
It is kind of oxymoron scheme or sort of irony that man has to built so large equipment for the purpose of studying so small particles.

RE: Oxymoron
By andrep74 on 2/7/2006 12:41:57 PM , Rating: 2
Well, think of it more as increasing the chance of detecting a collision event, like buying tickets for the lottery. It's not like the phenomenon being detected is big, it's that the chance of it happening in any given volume is small.

RE: Oxymoron
By Clauzii on 2/7/2006 12:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
So true!

By fishbits on 2/7/2006 12:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
Waiting for Sony to issue a press release claiming each PS3 will be 1,000 times more powerful.

RE: Waiting
By kattanna on 2/7/2006 12:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
or someone in five years to sue them due to patent infringement


RE: Waiting
By beemercer on 2/10/2006 7:44:03 PM , Rating: 3
But the PS3 is.

Bit Boys Oy
By Jackyl on 2/7/2006 10:29:55 AM , Rating: 3
Bit Boys graphics card finally no longer vaporware!

RE: Bit Boys Oy
By beemercer on 2/10/2006 7:43:26 PM , Rating: 1

By Ed Doc on 2/7/2006 11:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
Typical of Wisconsin - it's shaped like a cheese.

RE: Typical....
By The Cheeba on 2/8/2006 12:48:25 AM , Rating: 2
It's actually Swiss. But your point is still valid.


Wheel of Fortune
By apriest on 2/7/2006 9:10:09 AM , Rating: 2
In related news, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has built the most expensive Wheel of Fortune to date... :-P

RE: Wheel of Fortune
By Griswold on 2/7/06, Rating: 0
The next logical step...
By brshoemak on 2/7/2006 10:13:58 AM , Rating: 2

You think if they stuck that in the next 1.21 jigga-pixel Nikon my SLR lenses would fit with a 45 ft adapter??

By Backslider on 2/7/2006 3:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
But does it overclock!

By Plasmoid on 2/7/2006 6:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
People took the time to look at the actual numerical value instead of trying to work out what the coloquial phrase used referes to. Yeah basically the US system broke with the SI system for big and small numbers and now we are stuck with its legacy.

By jzietman on 2/7/2006 10:46:52 PM , Rating: 2
mathematically, not colloquially, and i'm sure the scientists use mathematical terminology, one trillion = 1000 * 1000000000 (one thousand times one billion, which is one thousand times a million, which is one thousand times one thousand times one thousand).

one trillion = 10^12. 10^18 = one thousand x one thousand x one trillion = one thousand x one quadrillion = one quintillion.

these are the mathematically correct and accepted terms, no matter what people say about one billion being a millin millions (that's ridiculous, a million millions = 10^6 x 10^6 = 10^12 - one trillion)

ok, but...
By niknik on 2/7/2006 5:42:42 AM , Rating: 1
Does it support Pixel Shaders 3.0? Ehehe

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