| Business

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

BigBen even more super after upgrade

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

By Rick Stouffer
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is more than doubling the capabilities of its Cray XT3 supercomputer nicknamed "BigBen" to 21.5 trillion calculations per second, improving its ability to handle the most demanding science projects.

To put that speed in perspective, if everyone of the Earth's roughly 6.5 billion people each did one calculation per second on a calculator, they still would be about 3,000 times slower than the upgraded BigBen.

"The Cray XT3 has proven itself as a massively parallel scientific platform of exceptional capability," said Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center's scientific directors, in a statement. "We look forward to new insights into important problems that scientists will produce as a result of this upgrade."

The Supercomputer Center, a joint venture between Carnegie Mellon University, Westinghouse Electric Co. and the University of Pittsburgh, will replace BigBen's existing 2,090 processors with Advanced Micro Devices' top-end Opteron dual-core computer chips. The new chips will double the processor count to 4,180, with a corresponding boost in peak performance while also doubling the computer's memory.

More than sheer speed, the supercomputer's primary technological advance has been the speed at which its processors share information, the center's executives said. Such speed is considered an advantage in projects demanding hundreds of thousands of processors working together.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
  2. Friends, family, history lure natives back to Western Pennsylvania
  3. Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
  4. Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
  5. Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
  6. Year’s worth of rain floods Qatar
  7. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra offers own tradition with ‘Waltz’
  8. Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell
  9. Violinist, pianist join for evening of sonatas at Carnegie Music Hall
  10. Signs of steady U.S. economy: Pay, home sales up, unemployment applications down
  11. Woman pulled from Mon, taken to UPMC Mercy conscious and alert