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AMD processors made their way from Dubi to Iran, only to show up in Iran's most powerful supercomputer

Iran has a supercomputer constructed with 216 AMD processors, and it's got a lot of websites pretty mad. 

The whole thing reads like an advertisement really.  "An enormously powerful supercomputer" proclaims Slashdot. "such advanced U.S. computing technology is a real breach in U.S. sanctions," warns a UPI editor.

It's true that U.S. semiconductors are banned from entering Iranian borders, but I wonder if those editors know the computing power 860 gigaFLOPS really commands in the HPC world.

A total of four PlayStation 3s running Linux have just a hair less computing power than this computer.  A pair of IBM's newest and tiniest BladeCenter QS21 servers would out-compute Iran's new supercomputer without breaking a sweat.

InformationWeek was quick to get a quote on the story: "AMD fully complies with all United States export control laws, and all authorized distributors of AMD products have contractually committed to AMD that they will do the same with respect to their sales and shipments of AMD products ... Any shipment of AMD products to Iran by any authorized distributor of AMD would be a breach of the specific provisions of their contracts with AMD."

Just for comparison, IBM's BlueGene/L, the world's fastest publicly-known supercomputer, runs at a mere 478 teraFLOPs.

Amirkabir University of Technology, owner of the supercomputer, claims the system is for weather forecasting -- incidentally using the MM5 platform developed by the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.

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RE: You are telling me that 4 PS3s
By KristopherKubicki on 12/12/2007 1:49:14 PM , Rating: 3
If you're planning to run anything across 216 processors, it's already specially written and optimized code.

RE: You are telling me that 4 PS3s
By Zurtex on 12/13/2007 6:09:35 AM , Rating: 2
... well there's bandwidth, cache issues and general architecture of the CPUs.

I mean I could buy an 8800GTX and say it's better than 10 of any current x86 Quad CPUs in terms of sheer computer power (gflops and the like). But if I wanted to write a program to run a prime deterministic test or factor a number, I'd struggle like hell writing a code that worked in streams for the 8800GTX regardless of its gflops.

IBMs 2nd generation Cells are more suited to super computers than the ones that go in to the PS3s. But my understanding is even with those it's useful to hook them up with Opterons anyway because they can very easily negotiate where all the data needs to go which Cells have yet to to be able to do in large super computer environments, mainly because of compromises of number of cores over other parts of their architecture.

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