Feeds

Iran's nuke boffins prefer Opteron baby supers

A few flops to make a rocket for nukes experiments

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

So what technology does Iran's Aerospace Research Institute use to help it develop rockets that will presumably be used to give it the capability to launch nuclear weapons? Why, the same exact technology that boffins the world over have chosen to do their sometimes nefarious research, of course.

Last December, according to a report in ComputerWorld, ARI started bragging about the impressiveness of its supercomputing facilities. ARI started out with a 32-core cluster with a stunning 64 gigaflops of computing power, about as much computing power as four American families probably pack on their desktops and laptops these days.

That it has taken more than two years for ARI to get a second generation cluster together, as the ARI site claims, is probably a good thing for political stability in the Middle East. That second generation box, which has 16 dual-core and another 16 quad-core Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices, 98 GB of total memory, and 182 gigaflops of aggregate computing power, runs Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 as well as Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition. (Iran is on the cutting edge of Windows in HPC, or maybe LPC, it seems.) The server nodes, which might be homegrown or which might come from a tier one or tier two vendor (ARI doesn't say), are linked together using 10 Gb/sec InfiniBand switches. Not exactly a blazing supercomputer, but perhaps enough to do what Iran needs to do to make a decent rocket. (The Manhattan Project used banks of human calculators, such as the people working at insurance companies building actuarial tables, after all.)

So much for the enforcement of trade embargoes, which have rarely worked as intended throughout history. Iran is not supposed to be able to get its hands on information technology made in the United States. (Or Germany, where the AMD chips are actually made.)

While ComputerWorld and Iran Watch, a group dedicated to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons technology to Iran, made much of the AMD iron and didn't say anything about the Novell and Microsoft software, the real worry is what application software Iran is able to get its hands on to do finite element analysis and fluid mechanics in the design of the rockets. Hopefully, Iran is having a hard time getting chips and motherboards and this software requires a lot more oomph than it can get its hands on to design a modern rocket in a timely fashion.

ARI, of course, makes no mention of nuclear weapons in reference to its rockets, and according to its projects listing says that it is creating a sounding rocket, which is a sub-orbital rocket designed to carry scientific instruments to high altitudes.

"Sounding rockets are relatively low price test beds for space systems so hundreds of them are launched all over the world every year," ARI says in a calming way on its Web site, adding that it had designed, built, and recently launched such a rocket recently, taking the first Iranian pictures and films from space. You can see pictures of this rocket here and here at Arms Control Wonk. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.