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Los Alamos lab to decommission supercomputer, once world's fastest

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Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-30 15:57:00-04

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It's the end of the line for Roadrunner, a first-of-its-kind collection of processors that once reigned as the world's fastest supercomputer.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the nation's premiere research centers, says the $121 million supercomputer will be decommissioned Sunday.

The reason? The world of supercomputing is evolving and Roadrunner has been replaced with something smaller, faster, more energy efficient and cheaper. However, Roadrunner is still among the 25 fastest supercomputers in the world.

In 2008, Roadrunner was first to break the elusive petaflop barrier by processing just over a quadrillion mathematical calculations per second.

Los Alamos teamed up with IBM to build the supercomputer. It has been used to model viruses, better understand lasers and for nuclear weapons work. That includes simulations aimed at ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation's aging arsenal.