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Atoms in supercomputing?

OK, Atom chips

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If you build a supercomputer out of Atom chips, will someone buy it? That remains to be seen, but it’s a compelling enough idea to score $9.3m from the US Department of Energy.

You can click here to read about SeaMicro, a small company that picked up the dough to develop an Atom-based supercomputer.

The story describes a system composed of 512 Atom processor with a petabyte of ‘storage’… which probably means disk, but could also refer to aggregated memory.

There isn’t a lot of information on the system at this point – SeaMicro’s website is Spartan to say the least. However, it’s said that this system would cost less than $100k and have extremely low power requirements.

While this computer probably won’t be the first choice for floating-point-hungry HPC users, it might be a good fit for Web 2.0 types who just need lots of cycles to move data around – not to crunch it.

I’m a little skeptical (nothing new here) but can see where this is potentially a winning solution for customers who need to serve up massive numbers of simple web pages and do lots of very basic tasks. At the very least, it’s a trend to watch…

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