An interesting article regarding the world’s fastest computer was in C&E News today when it hit my desktop. At a time where there is so much focus on High Performance Computing it was interesting to read about the RoadRunner system delivered by IBM to the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Quoting Wikipedia “Roadrunner differs from many contemporary supercomputers in that it is a hybrid system, using two different processor architectures for the heavy lifting. Usually supercomputers only use one, since it would be easier to design and program for. To tap the full potential of Roadrunner, all software will have to be written specially for this hybrid architecture which is uniquely complex. The hybrid design consists of dual-core Opteron server processors manufactured by AMD utilizing the standard x86 architecture. Attached to each Opteron core is a Cell processor manufactured by IBM using Power Architecture technology. ”
I have blogged previously about Cell Processors being applied for Virtual Screening/Docking (1,2) and have been helping SimBioSys in their marketing and business development of their eHITS Lightning software as discussed here.
With the fastest computer in the world using the Cell processor as part of its architecture, and with the processor now proving itself for docking, the question is whether we will see this processor become even more mainstream in the foreseeable future. It’s NOT easy to port…but it can be done.