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World's fastest supercomputer runs RedHat Linux

IBM announced the completion of a one-petaflop supercomputer that runs Red Hat Linux. Twice as fast as the previous record-setter, the IBM Blue Gene, the Roadrunner uses a hybrid design that combines 6,948 dual-core AMD Opteron chips with 12,960 Cell processor engines.

The Roadrunner was built for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and will be soon be shipped to its new home at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. There, it will be put to work monitoring the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, but will also be available for research into astronomy, energy, human genome science, and climate change, says IBM.

Like Blue Gene and some 75 percent of the world's supercomputers, the $100 million Roadrunner runs Linux. As with most of them, the new world record-holder runs multiple instances of Linux over a cluster of interconnected computers.

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