Things got a tad hairy for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Blue Waters supercomputer when IBM halted work on it in 2011, but with funding from the National Science Foundation, the one-petaflop system is now crunching numbers 24/7. The behemoth resides within the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and is composed of 237 Cray XE6 cabinets and 32 of the XK7 variety. NVIDIA GK110 Kepler GPU accelerators line the inside of the machine and are flanked by 22,640 compute nodes, which each pack two AMD 6276 Interlagos processors clocked at 2.3 GHz or higher. At its peak performance, the rig can churn out 11.61 quadrillion calculations per second. According to the NCSA, all that horsepower earns Blue Waters the title of the most powerful supercomputer on a university campus. Now that it’s cranking away around-the-clock, it’ll be used in projects investigating everything from how viruses infect cells to weather predictions.
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