World’s most powerful supercomputer: 8.162 petaflops

A Japanese supercomputer has snapped up the top spot in the latest bi-annual supercomputer report from Top500, dethroning China.

Called the K Computer, the Japanese performance giant is capable of performing 8.162 quadrillion calculations per second (otherwise known as petaflops). The supercomputer is based at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe.

The 37th edition of the Top500 list, released twice a year, was released on Monday at the 2011 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany.

Besides Japan’s new leadership in the ranking, this release of the list is notable for the fact that every one of the top 10 systems returned petaflop/s performances. The US is tops in petaflop/s with five petaflop systems while Japan and China have two each. France has one listed petaflop system.

Number two on the list of Top500 supercomputers was China’s Tianhe-1A supercomputer, based at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin which previously held the top spot. That system returned a performance of 2.6 petaflop/s.

Jaguar, a Cray supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, moved down to third place with 1.75 petaflop/s.

Fujitsu K Supercomputer
Fujitsu K Supercomputer

Smashing records

The K Computer, built by Fujitsu, combines 68,544 SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs, each with eight cores, for a total of 548,352 cores, almost twice as many as any other system in the Top500.

Even more impressive, the K Computer is more powerful than the next five systems on the list combined.

NVidia GPU-powered systems also made themselves felt in this release of the Top500 list. The Chinese systems at number 2 and number 4, as well as the Japanese system at position 5 all run Nvidia GPUs.

However, Intel processors still dominate the list of world’s top supercomputers, being used in more than 77% of the Top500 list. Quad-core processors are now used in 46% of systems and 42% of systems use six or more cores.

As far as manufacturers go IBM is still the number one supercomputer maker, followed by Cray and Fujitsu.

The entry level for this release of the Top500 list is now 40.1 teraflop/s. Six months ago the entry level was 31.1 tflop/s. Combined, the Top500 supercomputers produce 58.88 petaflop/s of processing power.

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World’s most powerful supercomputer: 8.162 petaflops