Smallest Dutch supercomputer

April 6, 2017, Netherlands Research School for Astronomy
A team of scientists from the Netherlands has built a supercomputer the size of four pizza boxes. The Little Green Machine II has a computing power of more than 10,000 ordinary PCs. Credit: Simon Portegies Zwart (Leiden University)

A team of Dutch scientists has built a supercomputer the size of four pizza boxes. The Little Green Machine II has the computing power of 10,000 PCs and will be used by researchers in oceanography, computer science, artificial intelligence, financial modeling and astronomy. The computer is based at Leiden University (the Netherlands) and developed with help from IBM.

The supercomputer has a of more than 0.2 Petaflops. That's 200,000,000,000,000 calculations per second. Thereby this supercomputer equals the computing power of more than 10,000 ordinary PCs.

The researchers constructed their supercomputer from four servers with four special graphics cards each. They connected the PCs via a high-speed network. Project leader Simon Portegies Zwart (Leiden University): "Our design is very compact. You could transport it with a carrier bicycle. Besides that we only use about 1% of the electricity of a similar large supercomputer."

Unlike its predecessor Little Green Machine I the new supercomputer uses professionalized graphics cards that are made for big scientific calculations, and no longer the default video cards from gaming computers. The machine isn't based on the x86 architecture from Intel anymore either, but uses the much faster OpenPower architecture developed by IBM.

Astronomer Jeroen Bédorf (Leiden University): "We greatly improved the communication between the graphic cards in the last six months. Therefore we could connect several cards together to form a whole. This technology is essential for the construction of a supercomputer, but not very useful for playing video games."

To test the new, small supercomputer, the researchers simulated the collision of the Milky Way with the Andromeda Galaxy. This clash will take place in about four billion years. Credit: Jeroen Bédorf (Leiden University)

To test the little supercomputer the researchers simulated the collision between the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy that will occur in about four billion years from now. Just a few years ago the researchers performed the same simulation at the huge Titan Computer (17.6 petaflops) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA). "Now we can do this calculation at home," Jeroen Bédorf says, "That's so convenient."

Little Green Machine II is the successor of Little Green Machine I that was built in 2010. The new small is about ten times faster than its predecessor which is retiring as of today. The name Little Green Machine was chosen because of its small size and low power consumption. In addition, it is a nod to Jocelyn Bell Burnell who discovered the first radio pulsar in 1967. That pulsar, the first ever discovered, got nicknamed LGM-1 where LGM stands for Little Green Men.

Explore further: China to develop prototype super, super computer in 2017

Related Stories

China to develop prototype super, super computer in 2017

January 17, 2017

China plans to develop a prototype exascale computer by the end of the year, state media said Tuesday, as it seeks to win a global race to be the first to build a machine capable of a billion, billion calculations per second.

German supercomputer is a world champion in saving engergy

November 26, 2014

The new "L-CSC" supercomputer at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research is ranked as the world's most energy-efficient supercomputer. The new supercomputer reached first place on the "Green500" list published in ...

NVIDIA GPUs power world's fastest supercomputer

October 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NVIDIA has built the worldэs fastest supercomputer using 7,000 of its graphics processor chips. With a horsepower equivalent to 175,000 laptop computers, its sustained performance is equivalent to 2.5 ...

'Jaguar' supercomputer gaining speed

October 12, 2011

Cray Inc. said it has sealed a deal to overhaul the US Department of Energy's "Jaguar" supercomputer, making it faster than any other machine on the planet.

Recommended for you

Security gaps identified in internet protocol IPsec

August 15, 2018

In collaboration with colleagues from Opole University in Poland, researchers at Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security (HGI) at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have demonstrated that the internet protocol IPsec is vulnerable ...

Researchers find flaw in WhatsApp

August 8, 2018

Researchers at Israeli cybersecurity firm said Wednesday they had found a flaw in WhatsApp that could allow hackers to modify and send fake messages in the popular social messaging app.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.