Stephen Hawking Gets First Unit of New Supercomputer, Plans to Blow Minds
June 15, 2012 2:18 PM
comment(s) - last by
New "Big Brain Computer" starts at only $30K, but can pack up to 4,096 cores, 64 TB of memory
Renowned physics supergenius and
University of Cambridge
Stephen W. Hawking
said something about unlocking the
secrets of the Universe
as he received the first unit of a computer befitting his smarts -- SGI's "Big Brain Computer".
I. Meet the "Big Brain Computer"
In an era where
are slowly gravitating towards brute-force machines pillared by specialized hardware,
such as graphics processing unit
(GPU) based designs or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), many top firms are still focusing a lot of time on a more traditional objective -- specialty purpose-built scalable server rack units, used to build such juggernauts as International Business Machines, Inc.'s (
Another key entrant in this field is Silicon Graphics International Corp. (
). SGI was born out of the remains of Silicon Graphics, Inc.
a defunct 1990s firm
that pioneered the OpenGL standard and designed graphics cards. Today SGI is back at it and thriving, with its newly announced UV2 "Big Brain Computer" tower supercomputer.
Featuring custom-designed server rack units, the server is powered by Intel Corp.'s (
) Xeon processor E5 line, but is also compatible with NVIDIA Corp.'s (
) Quadro and Tesla cards for GPU computing.
Now the author of
The New York Times
A Brief History of Times
is receiving the first unit of the new supercomputer. An ecstatic Professor Hawking stated, "I am very pleased to be receiving the first SGI UV 2 supercomputer in the world.
Prof. Hawking will use the UV2 to unlock science mysteries. [Image Source: Martin Pope]
New observations of our Universe, like the Planck satellite, are offering us exquisite new insights. In order to test our mathematical theories, we need to match this detail in our computer simulations. The flexible new UV 2 COSMOS system, soon to be supercharged with Intel’s MIC technology, will ensure that UK researchers remain at the forefront of fundamental and observational cosmology."
II. Entry Cost of UV2 is "Only" $30K
SGI claims the UV2 has the world's biggest shared memory system of any supercomputer. It's scalable up to 4,096 cores and 64 terabytes of memory. The system has a ludicrous peak data rate of 4 terabytes per second. To put that in context, the entire contents of the
U.S. Library of Congress
only occupy 10 terabytes of space.
But the UV2 isn't design for simple human literary ponderings. As Professor Hawking suggests, it's the ideal tool to chew through terabytes of chemical or astrophysical data looking for key correlations, trends, and observed events.
The rack (left) based UV2 rack unit (right) system starts at only $30K. [Image Source: SGI]
While its specs are intimidating, the system starts at only $30,000 USD for a bare-bones configuration and can run standard desktop apps, in addition to its specialty -- scalable multi-core/multi-GPU apps.
Writes SGI, "Users can focus on outcomes, not algorithms with the ability to rapidly innovate; taking analysis from a laptop, scaling up on SGI UV with no re-writing of code or additional data management required."
Dr. Eng Lim Goh, chief technology officer of SGI, brags that the new system is not only a world-class design -- it's also far cheaper than its predecessor, the UV1. He remarks, "The technological advancement demonstrated in this next-generation SGI UV platform is not simply focused on increasing our lead in coherent memory size and corresponding core count.
We have been able to deliver all of this additional capability while driving down the cost of the system. In fact, the entry-level configuration of SGI UV 2 is 40 percent less expensive than SGI UV 1. This creates a new level of accessibility for large shared memory systems for researchers and the ‘missing middle’, providing an effective lower overall TCO alternative to clusters."
Paired with genius
algorithm and data-mining with scientific expertise
like Professor Hawking, designs like the "Big Brain Computer" and "Watson" may indeed change our reality and prospective on the universe as we know it. And that's good news for all of mankind.
Data Center Knowledge
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
6/18/2012 12:32:23 PM
Ok, $30K for a bare-bones configuration. So what does that mean? No where does it state what a bare-bones config is....1 CPU with a gig of ram?????
What am I missing?
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
Tegra 3 Supercomputer Aims to be 3 Times as Efficient as IBM's Blue Gene
April 4, 2012, 1:00 PM
IBM Hopes to Develop Exascale Supercomputers with Cognitive Abilities within the Next Decade
October 14, 2011, 1:31 PM
IBM Supercomputer "Watson" Challenges Human Contestants on Jeopardy!
February 15, 2011, 12:01 PM
China, NVIDIA Create World's Most Powerful Supercomputer
October 28, 2010, 10:00 AM
Stephen Hawking Says Aliens Probably Out There, Will Want to Conquer Us
April 26, 2010, 9:33 AM
U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor Team Up for “Integration Training”
November 19, 2014, 9:15 AM
U.S. Marshals Using Fake, Airplane-based Cell Towers to Scan Cell Phones of Americans
November 14, 2014, 9:05 AM
Ford Enlists Wind Energy Corp. to Provide Wind, Solar Energy to Four U.S. Dealerships
November 10, 2014, 10:58 AM
Disney Reveals Star Wars Ep. VII Title -- "The Force Awakens"
November 6, 2014, 3:45 PM
U.S. Navy Lockheed F-35C Completes First Carrier Landing
November 4, 2014, 12:44 PM
Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen Donates $100M to Fight Raging Ebola Epidemic
October 23, 2014, 6:05 PM
Most Popular Articles
Xiaomi Aims to be #1 Smartphone OEM Within 10 Years, Apple Urges Caution
November 21, 2014, 9:33 AM
Google Caves to Microsoft and Apple's Pet "Patent Troll" Rockstar
November 24, 2014, 3:30 PM
Report: Samsung Galaxy S5 Sales Have Come in 40% Below Projections
November 24, 2014, 6:58 AM
Quick Note: GM Teases Next Generation Chevrolet Volt
November 20, 2014, 3:26 PM
Quick Note: Google Chromebooks Now Coming with 1TB of Google Drive Space
November 21, 2014, 1:20 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information