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Jaguar devours Roadrunner

jaguar (1).jpgThe Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee has dethroned Los Alamos’ Roadrunner to become the most powerful computer in the world, according to new rankings by the TOP500 project.

Jaguar, which runs simulations on climate change, supernovae and new energy technologies, clocked in at 1.75 petaflops — 1,750 trillion calculations per second — after receiving a major upgrade from quad-core to six-core processors. The performance smoked Roadrunner’s 1.04 petaflops — down from the system’s 1.105 petaflops in June after being reconfigured. Roadrunner, which runs simulations of nuclear weapons and is used for classified research, became the first computer to break the petaflops barrier in June 2008. (TOP500)

Roadrunner still has some bragging rights over Jaguar: it’s the fourth most energy-efficient supercomputer in the world. Jaguar is far behind at number 41.


The Roadrunner and Jaguar systems are the only number crunchers running over a petaflops, but a few other computers are getting close. The number three spot is now occupied by another American behemoth, the Kraken system at the National Institute for Computational Sciences and the University of Tennessee, which reached 832 teraflops. Kraken knocks Germany’s supercomputer JUGENE, at Jülich Research Centre, down to number 4 at 825.5 teraflops. This year also marks China’s first foray into the top 5, with the Tianhe-1 system at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin, China, hitting 563.10 teraflops. All five supercomputers have a theoretical peak performance above a petaflops; Jaguar is capable of 2.3 petaflops.

The computer engineers have no intent of slowing down. According to Buddy Bland at Oak Ridge, the Department of Energy wants two machines that can hit 10 petaflops in the next two to four years. (ComputerWorld)

They’ll be in a race with Japan, whose Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) is planning a 10-petaflopser for early 2011 — although that project has hit some roadblocks.

Image: ornl.gov

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