Thomas R. O'Donnell

Posts Tagged ‘Blue Gene’

ISU’s big computer on campus – and why it’s not as flashy as you might think

In University research on September 13, 2013 at 3:43 am
Arun Somani with Cyence, Iowa State University's new high-performance computer, at the Durham Center on campus

Arun Somani with Cyence, Iowa State University’s new high-performance computer, at the Durham Center on campus. Photo by Bob Elbert, ISU News Service.

Iowa State University made a splash late last month when it rolled out its latest high-performance computer, Cyence. News releases and stories touted the $2.6 million machine’s speed: just over 183 teraflops (trillion scientific calculations per second). It would take a single human 5 million to 6 million years to do as many calculations as Cyence can do in a second, the press said.

For ISU, it’s a terrific machine – although it’s a shadow of the world-class supercomputers at Department of Energy, Chinese and European laboratories. Cyence definitely will let ISU researchers do cool things, leading to insights that will advance science.

But the releases and the stories aren’t telling the full story. And they may paint a somewhat inaccurate picture of Cyence’s capabilities.

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