November 18, 2009
Fastest Supercomputer in the World is Devoted to Solving its Problems
Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—At least for the moment, the world's fastest supercomputer is devoted to solving scientific questions that may save the planet — climate change, renewable energy, new medicines — rather than advances in nuclear weapons that might blow it up.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory's high-performance Jaguar XT5 computer, built by Seattle-based Cray Inc., was named Monday as the fastest on the planet in the latest semiannual TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers.
After a $19.9 million upgrade funded with federal economic stimulus money, Jaguar posted a performance speed of 1.759 petaflops or quadrillions of calculations per second.
That dropped previous No. 1 Los Alamos National Laboratory's IBM Roadrunner system in New Mexico to No. 2 with a speed of 1.04 petaflops.
Jaguar's stablemate at Oak Ridge, named Kraken, was ranked No. 3 with a speed of 831.7 teraflops or trillions of calculations per second. That makes the National Science Foundation-funded, Cray-built supercomputer owned by the University of Tennessee and the National Institute for Computational Sciences the top "academic" supercomputer in the world.
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