back to article Supercomputer and superboffins spot rare baby supernova

A newborn, nearby supernova with the potential to significantly improve our knowledge of the universe has been discovered by a supercomputer, two telescopes on opposite sides of the world, a sharp-eyed astronomer, and his helpful Oxford colleague. The Reg spoke with Peter Nugent, the California astronomer who first spotted the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Wait, what?

    > "That's the nice thing about NERSC having all these cores available," he said. "We could just increase the load with just one change in one line in a piece of code and, boom, it just goes off and grabs more processors."

    Uh, huh? You have to actually edit and recompile the code to change the number of CPUs? Sorry, that's hideously crude and primitive, cloud apps based on services like AWS or Appengine can do that without needing to be rebuilt, or even restarted. They should try not to boast about their weaknesses.

    1. Tasogare

      Thus spake the Master Programmer:

      > "Cloud apps based on services like AWS or Appengine can do that without needing to be rebuilt. They should try not to boast about their weaknesses."

      Who better follows the Tao? He who writes code of great elegance and power to fuel shopping carts and accounting packages, or he who writes ten thousand lines of dross that bears witness to a dying star?

      1. Ru
        Thumb Up

        Re: Thus spake the Master Programmer

        You sir, are fucking awesome.

        1. rciafardone
          Thumb Up


          idem again

    2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge


      ...that 'line of code' may be part of the job's run control script.

      Its not unusual for jobs run on systems bigger than a bog standard server to require the run control script to tell the OS what resources this run requires: not doing so is an excellent way of wasting computer power. The number of cores the job needs is an obvious candidate for such a request.

  2. jake Silver badge

    @AC 00:24

    Don't be daft. It's a simple configuration file change.

    vi $filename.config; edit the string "UseCores=60" to "UseCores=120" ... and then run the file. No re-compilation required.

    Why bother? I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader ...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Input for the mods ... and commentards.

      One of the Grahams (Marsden or Bartlett) commented that they had hit "reply to post", but it had appeared as a new comment not a reply ... I pooh-poohed the comment, suspecting he was just hitting the "post your own message" button at the bottom of the comments. Which I *HAVE* done. I'm human, I make (mi)steaks.

      But it just happened here in this thread, to me. I responded to the first reply to this article, using the "reply to post" button ... but my post shows up here as a new sub-thread. Only one post had been allowed by the mods when I posted.

      I suspect an "off-by-one" error when only one post has been allowed ...

      Why post here, instead of emailing the mods directly? It's probably an article where the computer savvy will read the comments ... thus giving the commentards a heads-up. The more eyes the better, when tracking down this kinda thang ... Over a third of a century of open source kinda gives a guy an opinion ;-)

      1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Input for the mods ... and commentards.

        Ok we'll check it out.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Re AC: You've got to love smartasses. You're what, 15? Don't you know that supercomputers are not effing webservices?

    But to be ontopic: way cool stuff.

  4. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    34 teraflops per second? Wow!

    It gets more powerful the longer it runs!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    "34 teraflops per second"? "1.05 petaflops/sec"?

    presumably you just mean "34 teraflops." and "1.05 petaflops"

    FLOP = floating point operations per second.

    come on reg!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So glad I'm not the only sad nerd who could't resist pointing this out. It just.... grates.

  6. zanshin

    Floating Point Accellerators!

    I, too, was pretty amused at the occurrences of 'flops/s'. From a lot of news sources I would mostly just roll my eyes a bit, but I do rather expect El Reg to not do such things, if only because it's the sort of thing they would mercilessly point out if done by others. :)

    Picking nits, I know!

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Why do you need the FLOP count anyway?

    Isn't that, like, integer processing that we want here?

  8. emmanuel goldstein

    type 1a

    aren't 1a supernovae more useful for investigating dark energy than dark matter?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Andrew Barr

    A closer look

    A closer look at the picture and in all that exciting technological advances and there is a piece of wood holding the cable tray up on top of the nearest rack!!

    I bet there is a dwarf turning a big wheel at the back of the room!!

  10. Captain Obvious

    Did Anybody notice...

    What appears to be a Unix stereotypical geek in the top left of the picture?

    1. Martin 47

      No stinking titles used here

      Are you sure thats not the spare dwarf, just in case they want to run more cores?

      Probably the code includes the line

      'Activate second dwarf with sharp stick'

    2. C 2

      Hiding in this picture

      There are 23 ninjas hiding in this picture.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I can only find 21... where are the other 2?

    3. wayne 8
      Thumb Up

      Where's the H1B worker?

      Wonder if he also wears a belt with those suspenders.

  11. MrT

    Nice cables...

    That is all.

  12. Michael Dunn

    Here's a title for you

    Where are the big tape reels? Without them it's not a computer!

  13. Armando 123

    Uh ...

    "discovered by a supercomputer, two telescopes on opposite sides of the world, a sharp-eyed astronomer, and his helpful Oxford colleague."

    And a small dachshund, called Colin.

    1. Jim Carter

      Not forgetting...

      Rupert the parrot.

  14. asdf

    bah nm

    Jupiter's radius is only 70,000 km so object is not all that much denser than the gas giant. Still long live the Ringworld!

  15. asdf

    off topic warning

    Wanted to post on other article about scientists finding diamond star core orbiting a pulsar but article doesn't have post section. " The object has more mass than Jupiter" and "its own radius has to be less than 60,000 km". Wow didn't Niven's ringworld contain about Jupiter's mass and it was 600 million miles circular? Granted its fiction and its a ring and not solid but thats compact for non exotic material. Yes pointless but in a posting mood.

  16. Someone Else Silver badge

    Stirling Colgate, are you out there?

    Looks like DigAs came to be, after all...and is finding just the sort of things you expected it to. Very Nice!

  17. The last doughnut
    Thumb Up

    Thank you, El Reg

    Thank you for this excellent article. Its good news about the rapid supernova discovery, but I particularly enjoyed the way your article laid out the details of how it was found.

    Great work.

  18. Nigel 11

    type 1a supernova

    One way of looking at it, is that a big enough diamond isn't around forever, or even for very long.

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