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Eyes-on the innards of Fujitsu's K supercomputer (updated)

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Fujitsu's K supercomputer was on our radar before it was even completed, and naturally, we let you know when it smoked the competition and became the supercomputing speed king. So, when we had the opportunity to see a piece of K at Fujitsu's North America Technology Forum today, we couldn't pass it up. In case you forgot, K is a massive machine powered by 864 racks with 24 boards per rack housing SPARC64 CPUs. We got to see one of those boards, and Yuichiro Ajima -- who designed the inter-connection chips (ICC) on them -- was gracious enough to give us some more info on this most super of supercomputers.

Gallery: Eyes-on the innards of Fujitsu's K supercomputer | 16 Photos


As you can see in the gallery above, each board has extensive plumbing to keep the SPARC silicon running at a manageable 32 - 35 degrees Celsius (90 - 95 Fahrenheit) under load. Underneath that copper cooling system lies four processors interspersed between 32 memory modules (with 2GB per module) and four ICCs lined up next to the board's rack interconnect ports. Currently, the system takes 30 megawatts to do its thing, though Ajima informed us that K's theoretical max electricity consumption is about double that -- for perspective, that means K could consume the entire output of some solar power plants. When asked if there were plans to add more racks should Fujitsu's supercomputer lose its crown, Ajima-san said that while possible, there are no plans to do so -- we'll see if that changes should a worthy opponent present itself.

Update: Turns out the K's power consumption resides around 13 megawatts, with a max consumption of 16MW at its current configuration. The facility in Kobe, Japan where K resides can deliver up to 24 megawatts, so expansion is possible, but none is currently planned.

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