The Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Titan,” has been delayed because an excess of gold on its motherboard connectors has prevented it from working. It was turned on in October and climbed to the top of the Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers shortly thereafter.
But acceptance testing was never formally completed, meaning that the system is not considered stable enough for full production. It looks like proper testing could be delayed until the end of April, four months late. Problems with the connectors were isolated as the culprit, and the project’s organisor ORNL decided to take some of Titan’s 200 cabinets offline and ship their motherboards back to Cray, for repairs.
Too much gold affected the ability of the GPUs in the system to talk to the main processors. There are about 20,000 connectors within the Titan, connecting the CPUs and GPUs.