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

Written by Antony Leather

June 20, 2011 | 15:38

Tags: #cray #gene

Companies: #fujitsu

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.

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