Russia Threatens to Build a 10-Petaflop Supercomputer

Russian supercomputing company, T-Platforms, was quoted on 23 December 2011 by “Computerworld” as claiming to build a 10-petaflop system.

Okay, it was me who wrote “threatens”. T-Platforms didn’t state it so. What is more interesting is that their website still (as of 13 January 2012) doesn’t contain any reference to that claim. (UPD from 14 February 2012: here is the link, dated by 21 December 2011. Probably I missed it?)

However, the institution where the machine would be installed — the Moscow State University — did have this information published one day earlier on its affiliated website, “Supercomputers.ru”

The purchaser of this machine would be the Russian government, and all purchases are subject to a bidding process. Of Russian vendors, it is only T-Platforms who can build a machine of that size. And the government is not inclined to award the contract to Western companies.

Let’s live and see what comes out of it. The results of the upcoming Russian Presidential election in March 2012 will likely influence funding decisions for the project of that scale.

Next day after the mentioned post appeared on “Computerworld”, a similar topic emerged on Slashdot: “Russia, Europe Seek Divorce From U.S. Tech Vendors”. Comments were dedicated to topics as diverse as “Which country stole what?”, “Can China really innovate?”and “Whether Russia should license (or reverse-engineer) someone else’s CPU to reduce dependency on US supplies”.

No doubt that T-Platforms can assemble the 10-petaflops machine. According to the Green 500 list, with the current technology it could draw as much as 8 Megawatts of power. Add to this cooling requirements, and we can suppose it will be located somewhere outside the main campus of the Moscow State University, because electricity (and machine room space) are scarce resources within the city’s borders.

I doubt, however, that the machine will include truly innovative technologies, like the 11-petaflops “K Computer” from Japan did. At best, it would feature Intel MIC chips — if they are available in required quantities. But again, let’s live and see.

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