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U.S. Claims 5 of Top 10 Fastest Supercomputers

The United States reigns supreme once again as the country holds five out of the world’s top 10 supercomputers.

The Top500 list was compiled by Hans Meuer, professor at the University of Mannheim in Germany, where he has kept record of all new supercomputer developments since 1986. Other contributors to the list include: Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee.

Claiming the number one position in the Top500 list, the Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, is said to be the fastest and most powerful computer in the world.

“The new Top500 list clearly demonstrates the U.S. commitment to applying high-performance computing to breakthrough science, and that’s our focus at Oak Ridge,” said Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason in a company release.

The Titan replaced the XT5 Jaguar at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which had previously been listed in the Top500 list in November 2009 and June 2010.

According to a Top500 news release, Titan achieved 17.59 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark and is capable of a theoretical peak speed of 27 quadrillion calculations per second while using 9 megawatts of electricity.

Oak Ridge says the Titan is 10 times faster than Jaguar, but only has an increase of 20 percent in electrical power consumption. According to Oak Ridge, this level of efficiency was made possible by GPUs, which first created for computer gaming.

“It’s not practical or affordable to continue increasing supercomputing capacity with traditional CPU-only architecture,” said Jeff Nichols, associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“Combining GPUs and CPUs is a responsible move toward lowering our carbon footprint, and Titan will enable scientific leadership by providing unprecedented computing power for research in energy, climate change, materials and other disciplines,” added Nichols.

The Titan supercomputer has 560,640 processors, including 261,632 NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores. In addition, Titan also has 710 terabytes of memory.

According to Oak Ridge, the Titan is the scientific research community’s most powerful computational tool for exploring solutions to some of today’s most challenging problems.

“The order of magnitude performance increase of Titan over Jaguar will allow U.S. scientists and industry to address problems they could only dream of tackling before,” said Buddy Bland, Titan project manager at Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility.

The other top systems, in order, include:

  • Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • Fujitsu’s K computer installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan.
  • Mira, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at the Argonne National Laboratory.
  • JUQUEEN, a BlueGene/Q system installed at the Forschungszentrum in Germany and is noted as the most powerful system in Europe.

Meanwhile, systems with multi-core processors dominate the Top500 list. According to Top500, 84.6 percent of the systems use processors with six or more cores and 46.2 percent with eight or more cores.

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