Last year, Fujitsu’s K Computer took the crown as the world’s fastest supercomputer which was nearly four times faster than the Chinese Tianhe-1A. At the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) 2012, in Germany, IBM Sequoia was named the world’s fastest supercomputer which is 1.55 times faster than the previous record-breaker, the Fujitsu K Computer.
This is the first time since 2009 that the United States has been able to claim the spot for the fastest supercomputer in the world. IBM Sequoia is housed at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Sequoia is a 16.32 petaflop (16,320,000,000,000,000 flop/s) IBM machine which has 96 racks containing 98,304 computing nodes, 1,572,864 cores with 1.6 petabytes RAM. Sequoia uses Linux IBM BlueGene/Q operating system. Sequoia is 55% faster than the second fastest Japanese Fujitsu K computer which achieved 10.51 petaflops, using over 705,000 processor cores.
The new machine consumes 7.9 megawatts of power. This is significantly lower compared to the K computer, which consumes 12.6 megawatts. This gives Sequoia an efficiency of approximately 2.07 teraflop/s/W to K’s 0.83 teraflop/s/W. Comparing to the 1993s supercomputers, it can perform and calculate things in less than a second which 1993s supercomputers used to take three days to solve. In addition, the IBM team said that it is 273,930 times more powerful than the 1993s CM-5/1024.
The official site of the Top500 list, which ranks the world’s known supercomputers and compiled twice a year released the new list on Monday. The list highlights just how quickly technology is advancing in the world of supercomputers. The list of top ten fastest supercomputer makers is stated herein, where IBM has built five out of the top 10 supercomputers are :
1. IBM: Sequoia (DOE Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – USA)
2. Fujitsu: K (RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science – Japan)
3. IBM: Mira (DOE/SC/Argonne National Laboratory – USA)
4. IBM: SuperMUC (Leibniz Rechenzentrum – Germany)
5. NUDT: Tianhe-1A (National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin – China)
6. Cray: Jaguar (DOE/SC/Oak Ridge National Laboratory – USA)
7. IBM: Fermi (CINECA – Italy)
8. IBM: JuQUEEN (Forschungszentrum Juelich – Germany)
9. Bull: Curie thin nodes (CEA/TGCC-GENCI – France)
10. Dawning: Nebulae (National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen – China)
According to the BBC report, Sequoia is capable of calculating, in one hour, ‘what otherwise would take 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years.’
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administrator Thomas D’Agostino said, “While Sequoia may be the fastest, the underlying computing capabilities it provides give us increased confidence in the nation’s nuclear deterrent.”
The supercomputer will be used to carry out simulations in order to help extend the life of nuclear weapons.