'Personal supercomputer' goes on sale

 作者:顾镱滩     |      日期:2019-03-03 04:16:02
By Will Knight A personal computer that packs the processing punch of a miniature supercomputer has gone on sale in the US. The DC-96 computer was developed by Orion Multisystems in California, US, and is aimed at scientists and engineers who routinely carry out computationally intensive calculations. About the size of small refrigerator, the DC-96 contains a “cluster” of 96 interconnected low-voltage microprocessors, each of which is capable of running at 1.2 Gigahertz, or 1.2 billion cycles per second. Together, these processors give the machine a peak computing power of 230 gigaflops, or the ability to carry out 230 billion complex mathematical operations every second. The machine also comes with a massive 192 gigabytes of memory. Such computer power does not come cheap, however, and one DC-96 costs $100,000. But Orion Multisystems claims the DC-96 offers an alternative for those who normally have to share supercomputer power within a laboratory or company. Rob Edwards, a microbiologist scientist at San Diego State University, US, has been testing the DC-96 for genomic research. “The system has allowed us to complete research tasks more efficiently than we would be able to with larger computer clusters,” he says. “It is something of a new paradigm,” says Addison Snell, a supercomputer expert at US technology research firm IDC. “The target is engineers who have a need to submit stuff to a cluster but don’t want to wait in a queue.” Snell adds that parallel processing technology is already finding its way into desktop computers, in the form of multi-core microprocessors. Both Intel and AMD recently launched multi-core chips aimed at boosting processing power by performing operations in parallel. “The demand for more computing power has always been there,” he says. The power offered by DC-96 is still dwarfed by that of the world’s mightiest supercomputers, like IBM’s Blue Gene, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, US. That has a peak performance of 70,720 gigaflops and is the most powerful computer on the planet. But the DC-96’s performance lags not far behind many laboratory supercomputing clusters. A list of the world’s top 500 supercomputers is compiled every six months and the 500th machine, a 416 processor-cluster operated by US telecoms firm SBC Service,