2009's Fastest Supercomputer Goes Dark Today

The world's fastest supercomputer isn't the world's fastest super computer anymore, so it's getting turned off today. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, IBM's Roadrunner is being replaced by a faster, cheaper and more energy efficient computer, Cielo.

The $121 million Roadrunner supercomputer was the first to consistently compute a Petaflop, or a quadrillion mathematical calculations per second, beginning in 2008 and this power has aided research into lasers, viruses, weapons, cosmology and more. Roadrunner takes up 6,000 square feet, uses 278 racks to house its processors and is connected by 55 miles of fiber optic cable.

After the switch is flipped, researchers at Los Alamos will spend a month testing Roadrunner's operating system memory compression and data routing. Cheaper, smaller and all-around better supercomputers are, of course, in the works at IBM and elsewhere, but as of its decommissioning today Roadrunner is still in the top 25 fastest supercomputers in the world. Respect. [Los Alamos National Laboratory]