Super computers are given the work of performing heavy tasks like calculations sizing up to terabytes, whether it is in engineering, mathematics, astronomy or the field of medicine. Such tasks can not be carried our in any sort of reasonable time while using a regular computer. It is appropriate to say that supercomputers are being rated, not by the size of their speed, but on their speed, in relation to power consumption. Super computers have special power when it comes to speed, memory and storage. In the department of Information Science, at the University of Tokyo, Super computers can also be environmental friendly.

Eco-friendly but Super

The Japanese based supercomputer at the Department of Information Science; at the University of Tokyo, Japan, dubbed ‘Grape-DR’ has been hyped to be the world’s most eco-friendly super computer on the planet. Having been ranked as the first in the June issue of the “Little green 500” List of 500 green computers, the Japanese cluster was developed by Professor Kei Hiraki of the University of Tokyo and a research group led by Jyunichiro Makino, Professor at (NAOJ) the National Astronomical Observation of Japan.

Specifications

Inside Grape-DR, it is stuffed with 64 Intel Core i7-920 processors and ASUS motherboard, 18 GB of DDR3 memory, together with 4 Grape-DR accelerator chips. It would be worthwhile to note that each of these chips can reach 200 gigaflops with only 50 watts of power. This is enough for only a light bulb. Its performance is 815.43 MFLOPS per watt, beating the second place, IBM’s 773.38 MFLOPS per watt. That’s quite a bit lesser than the team’s target achievement, pointing out that they are able to increase that rating by at least 50 percent by the end of the year.

It has a customized accelerator board, developed by a professor at the University of Tokyo. This helps to enhance the performance of the Core i7-920 system by about five times. This is according to Techno.

Speed is of the essence

Green is not speed. While it might be the most environmental friendly computer in the world, it has much more to do for it to be one of the fastest computers around. Its total performance of 23.4 TFLOPS is way below the 24.67 TFLOPS needed to crack its way into the top 500 list. Currently, the machine is ranked 500 in the top 500 fastest computers in the world.

Lessons learnt

If a supercomputer, of all machines, can achieve such level of energy efficiency, why should it be difficult for personal computers and other machines, vehicles included, to survive on light bulb energy? The likes of Grape-DR show us that we can indeed achieve a lot with so little, that industrial and technological development and Mother Nature can co-exist peacefully. We are patiently waiting for the day technology firms will borrow a leaf from Grape-DR. The world will be then in a strong position to overcome the peak oil energy crisis and cub global warming and other technology-caused environmental predicament.