If you didn't know it was there, you'd have no idea that deep in the Tennessee woods, about a 20-minute drive from Knoxville, is one of the world's great supercomputer labs. It's no accident, of course. The facility is part of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the world's leading research institutions and the site of the reactor in which plutonium for the first atomic bombs was refined during World War II.
As one of the last stops on , CNET News.com reporter Daniel Terdiman stopped in at Oak Ridge last week to get a firsthand look at the existing supercomputers--and to hear about a new one coming online soon that will be among the world's most powerful. He also got to see that original reactor and visit with one of the scientists leading the research center's work into more efficient biomass for ethanol.
This is one row of the lab's Cray X1E, the largest vector supercomputer in the world and the 175th most powerful computer overall. It is rated for 18 teraflops of processing power. It is arrayed in multiple rows, with aisles for walking through. The computer is liquid-cooled, and piping was installed into the floor for that purpose.
July 8, 2008 8:07 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET News
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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