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Japan's K supercomputer is now the world's fastest

Japan's K supercomputer is now the world's fastest

K is the world's fastest ever supercomputer, and by quite a considerable margin.

Japan has just overtaken China on the TOP500 leaderboard of the world's fastest supercomputers. The country's latest machine, simply called K, is over three times as fast as China's Tianhe-1A, which claimed the previous top spot in October last year.

K is capable of processing a staggering 8.2 petaflops, while Tianhe-1A churns out a comparatively ordinary 2.507 petaflops. Tianhe-1A in turn took the top spot from the XT5 Jaguar at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, which is rated at 1.75 petaflops and still holds third place.

In terms of hardware, K has 548,352 2GHz SPARC64 VIIIfx cores (in 68,544 eight-core chip packages) spread out over 672 cabinets, and the whole supercomputer has a colossal power draw of 9,898kW. This figure eclipses the power draw of any other supercomputer on the June 2011 Top500 list by a large margin.

Speaking to the New York Times, Professor Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, who runs the Top500 list, claimed that K's performance is the equivalent of around one million linked desktop computers.

According to the site, K also looks set to break more records in the coming months, with the owners apparently planning to raise the number of cabinets to 800 from 672. It already costs £6.2 million to run annually and uses enough electricity to power 10,000 average homes. The machine was built by Fujitsu, and is situated at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe.

Do you wish you could get your hands on 8.2 petaflops of processing power? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

52 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Sentinel-R1 20th June 2011, 15:45 Quote
I'm not a green save the planet hippy or anything like that; however, that much cost and energy - I only hope it's being put to good use and not just super rich bragging rights.
leexgx 20th June 2011, 15:46 Quote
run SMP folding client on every node get some interesting results back :)
Bloody_Pete 20th June 2011, 15:48 Quote
:O
Arkanrais 20th June 2011, 15:50 Quote
Some people go to crazy lengths for bitcoin farms.
bowman 20th June 2011, 15:51 Quote
Seems awfully out of place in today's world of heterogeneous supercomputers with GPUs. The power draw confirms the oddness..
Pete J 20th June 2011, 15:59 Quote
They haven't even overclocked it. What a waste! :D
TheStockBroker 20th June 2011, 16:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman
Seems awfully out of place in today's world of heterogeneous supercomputers with GPUs. The power draw confirms the oddness..

Pffft.


That's nothing compared to my old Pentium 4 rig.
beckoner 20th June 2011, 16:18 Quote
Does it blend?

(Sorry, couldn't resist)
Niftyrat 20th June 2011, 16:19 Quote
And still it won't be able to play sins of a solar empire on the largest settings with four top level ai's
rayson 20th June 2011, 16:20 Quote
some give me couple of billion dollars . i'm gona cool every single one of those 548,352 2GHz cpu-z with with those chillers thing to 4ghz
douglatins 20th June 2011, 16:43 Quote
Only 10KW? I mean 10corsair psus can power that? bring the 1MW COLOSSA SUPERCOMPUTER
douglatins 20th June 2011, 16:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by douglatins
Only 10KW? I mean 10corsair psus can power that? bring the 1MW COLOSSA SUPERCOMPUTER

Oh wait 9,000 is 9000 in UK right? Now it has respect
Hawkest 20th June 2011, 16:57 Quote
you mean 10,000 corsair PSU's
HourBeforeDawn 20th June 2011, 16:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel-R1
I'm not a green save the planet hippy or anything like that; however, that much cost and energy - I only hope it's being put to good use and not just super rich bragging rights.

like with any brand new super computer, typically first use of it is determining Nuclear Fall out... so not really a good initial use for such a system ~_~ but then afterwards yes they tend to do some good things with it.
enciem 20th June 2011, 17:21 Quote
You should ask them if they'll hook up to F@H for the Bit-tech team, a couple of hours should do it.
Demlock 20th June 2011, 17:42 Quote
Almost the same power draw as the total electircal power output of the Togolese Republic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(power)
Aracos 20th June 2011, 17:59 Quote
Quote:
In terms of hardware, K has 548,352 2GHz SPARC64 VIIIfx cores (in 68,544 eight-core chip packages) spread out over 672 cabinets, and the whole supercomputer has a colossal power draw of 9,898kW.
Yep, it's definately me causing global warming by using light bulps >.>

EDIT: I'm also not a believer that we cause global warming since it's a fact of life. I just hate how people say it's our fault :P
McSteel 20th June 2011, 18:04 Quote
Wonder how many Nokias this thing can crack in an hour...
Zinfandel 20th June 2011, 18:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by storm20200
Quote:
In terms of hardware, K has 548,352 2GHz SPARC64 VIIIfx cores (in 68,544 eight-core chip packages) spread out over 672 cabinets, and the whole supercomputer has a colossal power draw of 9,898kW.
Yep, it's definately me causing global warming by using light bulps >.>

EDIT: I'm also not a believer that we cause global warming since it's a fact of life. I just hate how people say it's our fault :P

Well, thanks for your opinion Professor Storm.
Action_Parsnip 20th June 2011, 19:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by storm20200
Quote:
In terms of hardware, K has 548,352 2GHz SPARC64 VIIIfx cores (in 68,544 eight-core chip packages) spread out over 672 cabinets, and the whole supercomputer has a colossal power draw of 9,898kW.
Yep, it's definately me causing global warming by using light bulps >.>

EDIT: I'm also not a believer that we cause global warming since it's a fact of life. I just hate how people say it's our fault :P

Light bulps = lol

Having a deeply red neck area = lol
Burhoom 20th June 2011, 19:35 Quote
But can it run Crysis?
Sentinel-R1 20th June 2011, 19:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by douglatins
Oh wait 9,000 is 9000 in UK right? Now it has respect

9,000 is 9000 anywhere you go! :)

This thing draws nearly 10 million watts.
SMIFFYDUDE 20th June 2011, 19:59 Quote
No one said it yet then?
Bauul 20th June 2011, 20:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel-R1
Quote:
Originally Posted by douglatins
Oh wait 9,000 is 9000 in UK right? Now it has respect

9,000 is 9000 anywhere you go! :)

This thing draws nearly 10 million watts.

Nope, the decimal point sign is a comma in most of Europe and the thousand seperater is a period (full stop).

Personally, I loved the idea of a room full of supercomputers being fed by a tiny wrack of 10 little PSUs.
Tangster 20th June 2011, 20:37 Quote
825 times faster than zz9pzza's folding setup.
Aracos 20th June 2011, 20:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Action_Parsnip
Quote:
Originally Posted by storm20200
Quote:
In terms of hardware, K has 548,352 2GHz SPARC64 VIIIfx cores (in 68,544 eight-core chip packages) spread out over 672 cabinets, and the whole supercomputer has a colossal power draw of 9,898kW.
Yep, it's definately me causing global warming by using light bulps >.>

EDIT: I'm also not a believer that we cause global warming since it's a fact of life. I just hate how people say it's our fault :P

Light bulps = lol

Having a deeply red neck area = lol

Wow I fail, I meant bulbs, I'm tired dammit!
Sentinel-R1 20th June 2011, 21:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Nope, the decimal point sign is a comma in most of Europe and the thousand seperater is a period (full stop).

Personally, I loved the idea of a room full of supercomputers being fed by a tiny wrack of 10 little PSUs.

Well, they say every day is a school day. It seems this one is for me! ;)
FelixTech 20th June 2011, 21:12 Quote
Dear customer,

I am afraid to inform you that Crysis will only run on x86 or POWERPC systems, and as such cannot be played on your SPARC64 computer. It does, however, include both Minesweeper and Solitaire.

Regards,

Tech Support
Shayper09 20th June 2011, 22:42 Quote
Haha :)

I would love to see that hooked up to f@h, would blow pretty much every team out of the water :)
XXAOSICXX 21st June 2011, 00:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel-R1
I'm not a green save the planet hippy or anything like that; however, that much cost and energy - I only hope it's being put to good use and not just super rich bragging rights.

My sentiments exactly. For a country currently in chaos because of natural disasters, I can probably imagine a whole bunch of Japanese with no homes wondering why £6.2 million a year isn't finding its way to them instead of powering an ego race against China.
XXAOSICXX 21st June 2011, 00:12 Quote
" K also looks set to break more records in the coming months"

Biggest waste of money ever?
borandi 21st June 2011, 00:49 Quote
£6.2m/yr is peanuts to run in comparison to Trident or Aircraft Carriers coming in at 50bil a pop.

Oh, and F@H is completely useless, just fyi. Especially compared to the good some other distributed computing projects out there. If you've actually taken a biochem course/degree/doctorate, it's a nice idea but a waste of time and power atm.
murraynt 21st June 2011, 01:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by borandi
£6.2m/yr is peanuts to run in comparison to Trident or Aircraft Carriers coming in at 50bil a pop.

Oh, and F@H is completely useless, just fyi. Especially compared to the good some other distributed computing projects out there. If you've actually taken a biochem course/degree/doctorate, it's a nice idea but a waste of time and power atm.

What one is better?
Just being curious.... :)
proxess 21st June 2011, 01:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
No one said it yet then?

1: But will it run Crysis?

-and
2: It's over 9000!


Now on a more serious level: Isn't this a country that currently has rolling blackouts due to lack of power generating capacity??
McSteel 21st June 2011, 02:14 Quote
Knowing the Japanese, they already have 2 backup nukes in place somewhere, and are busy building a third one. I wouldn't worry about them :)

And as for K's use - it could be used in seismology, to calculate very complex models of the crust - mantle interaction, to further help in predicting upcoming quakes (not Carmack's, though) and minimizing damage they could/would do.
schmidtbag 21st June 2011, 02:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman
Seems awfully out of place in today's world of heterogeneous supercomputers with GPUs. The power draw confirms the oddness..

SPARC is the closest you can get to multi-threading without a GPU. I think the T3 has a total of 64 threads in just 1 CPU core, which is pretty ridiculous.

What I don't get is I thought nvidia's CUDA supercomputer was the 2nd fastest, not that chinese one.
Mraedis 21st June 2011, 06:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
SPARC is the closest you can get to multi-threading without a GPU. I think the T3 has a total of 64 threads in just 1 CPU core, which is pretty ridiculous.

What I don't get is I thought nvidia's CUDA supercomputer was the 2nd fastest, not that chinese one.

The maximum speed of it exceeds the chinese one, but the average speed doesn't exceed the average of the chinese. ;)

Check out the Top500 site with Rmax and Rpeak. I used average for max here and max for peak. :D
xaser04 21st June 2011, 08:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by borandi
£6.2m/yr is peanuts to run in comparison to Trident or Aircraft Carriers coming in at 50bil a pop.

50 Billion a pop?

The Nimitz class Super carrier (the largest capital ship of any Navy) has an estimated cost of 4.5 Billion USD per ship (Source).

Of course total R & D & ship construction (there are currently 10 operating) probably exceeded 50 Billion USD.

I like how you compare an inaccurate one off delivery cost of one thing to the operating cost of another though. For what it's worth the Nimitz class will cost alot more than £6.2m a year in operating costs but given the complexities involved that is a given.

I can only hope that a super computer such as this is being put to use studying and analysis seismic activity in and around Japan, hopefully preventing such a tragic loss of life if such a devastating earth quake were to happen again.
xMathiasD 21st June 2011, 09:38 Quote
I would like to farm bitcoins on that one! :D
Hawkest 21st June 2011, 09:58 Quote
any guess on how the CPC benchmark would come out?
fuus 21st June 2011, 11:16 Quote
any idea where LulzSec operates from?! ;)
wiak 21st June 2011, 13:56 Quote
but will it run crysis?
FYI: lets hope it wont be destroyed by a 8.2 earthquake on the richter scale
Farting Bob 21st June 2011, 18:15 Quote
It does consume crazy amounts of power (double that of any other computer on that list except the Cray at number 3) but it has a maximum speed far higher than any others. If it and all the others run at their max output, it would be one of, if not the most power efficient of the lot.
OCJunkie 21st June 2011, 18:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiak
lets hope it wont be destroyed by a 8.2 earthquake on the richter scale
Yeah would be quite ironic, a supercomputer studying seismology getting leveled by it's own subject.
Sloth 21st June 2011, 18:45 Quote
Environmental impact? Minimal. The ratio of power draw to performance isn't any worse than any other electronic device, this just happens to be one large device with a large raw power draw. No different than the steady increase in personal computers increasing total power usage in the world.

It's also relatively cheap, a few million a year for the kind of research this thing is likely to be doing is a good deal. I wouldn't doubt it'll be "rented" out to help shoulder the cost as well.
FelixTech 21st June 2011, 20:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
SPARC is the closest you can get to multi-threading without a GPU.

I'm pretty sure that it isn't CLOSE to multi-threaded, it IS multi-threaded. Otherwise by home PC has one-up on it :p
Paulg1971 22nd June 2011, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
Environmental impact? Minimal. The ratio of power draw to performance isn't any worse than any other electronic device, this just happens to be one large device with a large raw power draw. No different than the steady increase in personal computers increasing total power usage in the world.
l.

Like many others have said it just depends on what it is used for.If it used for some oddball scheme then although the impact would be minimal it would be a tragic waste cosidering the probs they have in japen at the moment.
Gorbash 23rd June 2011, 14:46 Quote
like with any brand new super computer, typically first use of it is determining Nuclear Fall out... so not really a good initial use for such a system ~_~ but then afterwards yes they tend to do some good things with it.

^^^^
As this computer is in Japan right now I would say from their point of view its a very good inital use of such a system!
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 23rd June 2011, 21:01 Quote
Can it clean up all that Radiation the Japanese Nuke plant spilled all over the place?

All these Supercomputers being built globally makes me start to wonder........What is The Matrix?
Sloth 23rd June 2011, 21:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulg1971
Like many others have said it just depends on what it is used for.If it used for some oddball scheme then although the impact would be minimal it would be a tragic waste cosidering the probs they have in japen at the moment.
The many others would be wise to remember that most people aren't willing to part with millions of dollars/pounds on a whim. These are professionals operating the fastest supercomputer in the world, they have bigger issues than winning a pissing contest, issues such as appeasing the sources of their funding by producing results if they want to get any money in the future. The money and planning for this would also predate the earthquake by months if not years, they couldn't stop now even if they wanted to.
timevans999 26th June 2011, 08:03 Quote
if it isn't all on one motherboard it real is less than interesting
eddman 29th June 2011, 11:36 Quote
They could have achieved 8.2 petaflops Double-Precision performance with 12320 Tesla M2090 GPUs with a power consumption of 3080-3700 KW, and probably at a lower cost too.
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