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Supercomputing Government Science Technology News

DOE Awards 265 Million Processor-Hours To Science Projects 59

Weather Storm writes "DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program supports computationally intensive, large-scale research projects at a governmental level. They recently awarded 265 million processor-hours to 55 scientific projects, the largest amount of supercomputing resource awards donated in the DOE's history and three times that of last year's award. The winners were chosen based on their potential breakthroughs in the areas of science and engineering research, and the suitability of the project for using supercomputers. This year's INCITE applications ranged from developing nanomaterials to advancing the nation's basic understanding of physics and chemistry, and from designing quieter cars to improving commercial aircraft design. The next round of the INCITE competition will be announced this summer. Expansion of the DOE Office of Science's computational capabilities should approximately quadruple the 2009 INCITE award allocations to close to a billion processor hours."
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DOE Awards 265 Million Processor-Hours To Science Projects

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  • its scary to think (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    there are botnets out there that are offering the same thing on the black market
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kestasjk ( 933987 )
      Can you provide a source? The people who estimate how large botnets are make money by scaring people (e.g. Symantec). The computing power would also clearly be very distributed, and it's hard to think of a criminal use for it.
      • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

        Can you provide a source?
        Same source as the article.
        Doe. John Doe to be precise.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Any sort of password/crypto cracking - using a brute-force search of the entire keyspace - parallelises very easily. See for example.
      • by dknj ( 441802 )
        i once witnessed someone control a swarm of 40,000 pcs using a vb app. its hard to believe until you see them all connect to an ircd server
    • Botnets may have the same number of CPU's, but they don't have anywhere near the bandwidth or latency between them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The earth is 6000 years old. A computer said it, it's science.
    • Well... (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      MY computer told me it could enlarge my pen15, but I think that was more Science Fiction than Hard Science (that joke was soo bad, I HAVE to post AC)
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        (that joke was soo bad, I HAVE to post AC)
        You made the right decision.
    • My computer thinks time began in 1970.
      • How do you know it didn't begin in 1970?

        Any memories you may have originating prior to 1970 could have been planted into your brain at the start (in 1970).
  • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Monday January 21, 2008 @03:34AM (#22124108)
    Does anyone know what processors the DoD is using? 265 Million Processor-Hours is a pointless metric on its own, there's a big difference between those hours on a 486 and an Itanium 2 or a modern Xeon. They should have used something like FLOPS to measure the processor power being awarded.
  • Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of...
    oh, forget it already! I think this meme is tapped.
  • Duh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ironpoint ( 463916 )

    What else are DOE machines used for other than research? Isn't this like saying "The Department of Transportation awards 100 million highway miles to travelers" or "NASA awards 100 shuttle flights to astronauts"?
    • Re:Duh (Score:4, Funny)

      by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Monday January 21, 2008 @03:57AM (#22124210) Homepage
      I'm going to go out on a limb and say,


      I think that about sums it up.
      • Anything processed on their machines becomes something they have a stake in, and something they KNOW about, in INTIMATE detail. Nothing runs on my machines with my permission without me knowing something about it. I have a pretty good feeling that the federales are no different. If they're giving out access, you can guarantee that THEY are ALSO getting access to the data that is getting crunched. Wouldn't want any breakthroughs to go to the free market rather than to the strangulated market run by the g
        • No one is preventing said researcher or inventor from buying time on a non tax-payer funded machine.

          Also, DOE superomputers are used to keep our nuclear warheads safe and perform nuclear testing, as it is impossible to carry out real tests now.
        • by mgblst ( 80109 )
          You are an idiot. Maybe you should go look up grid computing, OGF, NGS, etc...

          Obviously it is more fun spouting your paranoid shit than actually limiting yourself to talk about stuff that you know something about.
    • What else are DOE machines used for other than research? Isn't this like saying "The Department of Transportation awards 100 million highway miles to travelers" or "NASA awards 100 shuttle flights to astronauts"?

      I'm pretty sure that the point is that they have 265 million processor years to hand out, rather than the fact that they were handed out. Until Earth Simulator came online in Japan a several years ago, the state of supercomputing was languishing in the US, (at least for scientific research purposes, for all we know, the NSA has several petaflops of computing capacity.)

      Unfortunately, it seems like politicians have gone a bit overboard in devoting resources to supercomputing, since according to this art []

    • Dear DOE; please accept my research grant proposal for a project involving energy, and pornography. Results might be available in as little as 30 seconds.

      Thank you

    • Nuclear simulations are one of the main reasons DOE builds supercomputers. Since the U.S. can't test actual nuclear bombs anymore R&D is done on these supercomputers. Looks like they have some spare CPU time to lend out to academia though. [] [] []
  • hum! (Score:2, Funny)

    by cosmocain ( 1060326 )
    [...]to advancing the nation's basic understanding of physics and chemistry[...]

    all you need for that task is a stone dropping from the second floor on some heads. that's the basics of physics and a hell of fun.
  • I don't get it, they are awarding CPU-hours... Lots of them of course but wouldn't the projects be way more happier with X brand new PS3's?
    Because it's already a proven fact that PS3 is twice as useful as a research computer rather than a teenager playing equipment.
  • I can finally finish the calculations for my ultimate doomsday device.
  • ...advancing the nation's basic understanding of physics and chemistry,...
    Ow Im afraid no amount of processor time will help.....its hopeless...
  • by Tom Womack ( 8005 ) <> on Monday January 21, 2008 @08:33AM (#22125304) Homepage
    Except for Blue Gene (and that's a big exception, since the 2^17-CPU Blue Gene at LLNL pumps out about a billion processor hours a year on its own, and has had another 80,000 CPUs added recently) these CPUs are either 2.4GHz Opterons or 3GHz Core2s; those were and are the sweet spots for building big HPCs.

    The list of projects is at []

    They seem mostly to be about fire, in power stations, in supernovae or in fission reactors.

    Some nice examples: 27Mhours on lattice quantum chromodynamics, 21Mhours to simulating thermonuclear burning in type-1B supernovas, 18Mhours to figuring out how biofuels burn, 17.5Mhours to determine from first quantum principles how the nickel-56 nucleus holds together, 16Mhours to simulating thermonuclear burning in type-2 supernovas, 12Mhours to attempting to design a carbamate hydrolase enzyme de-novo, 10Mhours to simulating lead-telluride / silver-antinomy-telluride thermoelectric materials, 4.5Mhours to optimise the design of the next-generation linear collider, 5M hours to figuring out why enormous temperature gradients persist in liquid-sodium-cooled fast-breeder reactors and a further 14Mhours to liquid-sodium reactor design in general, 4M hours to figuring out exactly how multiple burners in large power-station combustion chambers light one another, 3.5Mhours to trying to understand why it's so hard to hydrolyse cellulose, 3.5Mhours to understanding how flame fronts move in the complicated gas mixtures obtained from coal gasification, half a million hours for oceanic circulation, three quarters of a million hours for flow of dense suspensions, ten million hours on catalyst design.

    And, for some reason, a million hours on porting Plan-9 to the Blue Gene system. I presume this allows you to crash and reboot the entire 200kcpu system enough to identify ten bugs. Also eight million CPU-hours to developing better HPC libraries.

    I would be interested to know the amount of idle time there is on these supercomputers; a friend of mine from got a week on several hundred Opterons in France over Christmas, which was enough to do most of the work required to factorise a few numbers of fairly unreasonable size - sadly, there's a second step in the factorisation which requires an SMP machine, and the biggest SMP machine I have is an Intel Q6600, so completing the factorisation is taking three weeks on a single desktop in my back bedroom.
    • by westyx ( 95706 )
      Reading the document, it sounds like they are thinking of moving to plan-9 as the OS on the machines.
  • Look, I don't know who the DOE are. I don't even know what country they're in. This is an international site -- is it too much to expect some basic information?


  • So how many laptops per forthnight is that?
  • Honestly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peipas ( 809350 ) on Monday January 21, 2008 @11:57AM (#22127016)
    Define your acronyms the first time you use them. This summary got it half right. If the submitter fails to do this, please pick up the slack editors. If you don't know what to put, that should be a red flag not to post it.
  • This should be just about enough time to burn one DVD.
  • The catch is that those 256 million processor hours are being given on a single 6502 processor.
  • 265 million hours of computing time, how much do they really have?

    Assuming they've donated this time to be used during one year, that means they've got around 30,000 processors idle.

    Which makes me wonder how much computing power the NSA has. I had always assumed that it would be less than the number of people on the planet, but now I'm not so sure...

    • They're not really donating it. They are "awarding" hours of processor time on supercomputers that were paid for with taxpayer money. Energy research is the mandate of the DOE. The concept is:

      1. DOE buys/builds supercomputers.
      2. Scientists write proposals about running programs on supercomputers.
      3. DOE chooses proposals that look cool / are scientifically interesting / don't suck
      4. DOE divvies up the time pie
      5. Scientists run their code and figure stuff out, write papers

      Time = money, especially when superco
  • "DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program supports computationally intensive, large-scale research projects at a governmental level.

    A business would not be successful by asserting, in its name, that it is "Innovative and Novel." A business [absent government subsidy or anti-newcomer regulations] would have to call itself "CITE," and do so according to scientific standards, to sell what it offers based on the judgement of its Customers that its work is indeed "innovative and novel."

    Mod me down all you want. This matters more to me than the topic, or your funny "Mod points."

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup