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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: Except...
By sinful on 12/14/2007 2:01:00 AM , Rating: 2
Make the point that supercomputer is small, but don't bring the PS3 nonsense into it.

Agreed, the PS3 comparison is totally nonsense.

The Cell is a special purpose chip that does well in a specific specialty subset and extremely poorly outside its niche.

The AMD based super computer is pretty much the swiss-army knife of supercomputing - it can do anything, and do it well.

Comparing the two is extremely misleading because of massive differences in architecture.

What is really amazing is how so many people hype the Cell.

The Cell's only real claim to fame is throwing lots and lots of Mhz at the problem, with a bunch of cores.
That's it. Each individual core is relatively primative.

In fact, a Cell is not much more than 8 486's @ 3.2Ghz glued together with better IO.
Each core in a Cell is ridiculously simple - but when you have 8 cores, and they're all running at 3.2Ghz, you can get good performance out of them in certain situations.

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