Computing in the F1 with Lenovo
Lenovo powered Nico Rosberg’s Formula One car to a second place finish at the debut of the first night race at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Is Your Computer Up-To The Task?
It is hard to separate computing from many of today’s competitive sports but we hear very little about them and how they are used.
For the AT&T Williams they’ve have entrusted Lenovo to deliver by using their workstations, notebooks and having Lenovo build them a SuperComputer. The reliability of a notebook, workstation and even a SuperComputer is paramount very much like the reliability of the Formula One car the AT&T Williams team builds and maintains throughout a season.
We asked the question of reliability in such a hostile environment. Alex Burns responded, "We expect to have 3 failures (notebooks) per racing season, but stress that these are usually the result of mishandling by the users. There is only so many times you can trop a ThinkPad in the pit lane before it gets damaged."
This holds true for the Formula One cars…there is only so many times you can abuse the car before it fails or so many time you can have a mishap.
ThinkPad Pre-Ignition Sequence
The ThinkPad T61P is special to the AT&T Williams team because it is used to diagnose the cars electronics and components. It is used to do a pre-ingnition check and actually turn over the engine without a spark to take readings. Based on good readings the engineer can then apply the starter with full ignition engaged. The use of the ThinkPad ensure that the team is not damaging any components for that initial start.
Here’s the ThinkPad hard at work with the engineer. Take note of the special casing, it looks like one of those Pelican cases that provides impact (drop) resistance, foam padding and a waterproof seal.
A lot of research and development time is committed to bringing the next generation car and improving on the current car throughout the season. AT&T Williams depends on the SuperComputer developed by Lenovo to run simulations, aero-dynamic modelling and analysis of the gigabytes of data captured and downloaded at the end of each race.
VR-Zone asked just how ‘super’ is this SuperComputer. We found out that if you were to compare against an average 3GHz desktop computer and that is our baseline of 1; Lenovo’s SuperComputer is 320 times more powerful than the 3GHz desktop.
Here’s a peak at the SuperComputer at AT&T Williams Headquarters.
Now you are probably wondering. Does the SuperComputer use standard processors or are they special RISC based PowerPC’s? VR-Zone found out that the SuperComputer is using Intel Inside.
We thank Lenovo, AT&T Williams Team and their Chief Operating Officer, Alex Burns for taking the time out to brief us on Lenovo’s partnership with AT&T Williams and how the Lenovo products are used throughout their organisation.
Best of luck to the team for the remaining three races and congratulations on the podium finish at Singapore’s SingTel Grand Prix night race.