Upgrading A Supercomputer

What’s it like to perform a processor upgrade on one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers? In this video, Al Enger from Cray, Inc. walks through the upgrade process of the Kraken supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which holds the number three spot in the new Top 500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Enger is upgrading Kraken’s quad-core AMD Opteron chips to Opterons with six cores. This video runs about 4 minutes.

For more coverage of information about supercomputing, check out our High Performance Computing Channel. For additional video, check out our DCK video archive and the Data Center Videos channel on YouTube.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. The Cray Site Engineer in the video is Al Enger, not Al Linger as depicted.

  2. Hi Paula. Thanks for the correction. I've corrected Al's last name in the story and excerpt got the RSS feed. The video is from AMD, so they'll need to fix that on their end.

  3. Curious

    I'm assuming they have anti static everything there but i was kind of suprised to see he wasn't wearing a wrist strap. Not that I do when I work on a computer but if I was working on a super computer I'd take every precaution.

  4. Kyle

    @curious, that caught my eye too, you would expect someone working on a piece of machinery that expensive to have an ESD bracelet on. I suspect it was a dummy board or one that doesn't work any more just to show us the process, in any case it was quite interesting.

  5. Peter

    @Kyle @Curious, people doing this kind of stuff for a living don't wear wrist straps anymore. Wrist straps are for quick fixes when you can't have the infrastructure for it. Datacenter raised floors are grounded, (the tiles have particles in them with specific resistance to let ESD dissipate, but not transmit mains power) most folks wear ESD disspipative shoes (almost all serious brands have them) or wear heel straps. This way is a whole lot less cumbersome. Of course the desks are also like this.

  6. Rich

    @Curious - you'll notice the pad that the server s laying on is grounded in the corner, (running over the desk). Usually with those pads, there is also a connecting food pad. Either way, he's grounded.