Sunday, July 03, 2011

World supercomputing capability more than triples

In a breath of good news for Japan this year, RIKEN's supercomputer "K Computer" vaulted to the top slot in world supercomputing in June 2011 as tracked by Top 500 Supercomputer Sites.

Remarkably, capability more than tripled to over 8 petaflops per second (8 quadrillion calculations per second, measured as the Maximal LINPACK performance achieved), after supercomputer performance had been asymptoting at close to 1 pf and 2 pfs for the last three years (Figure 1). China's Tianhe-1A at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin was in second place, and the US's Jaguar Cray at Oak Ridge National Lab in third.

The capacity tripling constitutes obvious potential benefits to scientific computing, the realm of applications for which supercomputers are used. It is hoped that these kinds of quantitative changes may eventually lead to qualitative changes in the way other problems are investigated, for example how the brain works.

Figure 1. Source: Top 500 Supercomputer Sites

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