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Speed King -- from Kobe.. the K Computer
Fujitsu system in Japan wrests global Top500 supercomputer list: just 2 systems in India

A Japanese supercomputer capable of performing more than 8 quadrillion calculations per second (petaflop/s) is the new number one system in the world, putting Japan back in the top spot for the first time since the Earth Simulator was dethroned in November 2004, according to the latest edition of the TOP500 List of the world’s top supercomputers. The system, called the K Computer,  and built by Fujitsu is at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe. The list was released last week at the 2011 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg. The ranking of all systems is based on how fast they run Linpack, a benchmark application developed to solve a dense system of linear equations.

Only two from India: The entry level to the list moved up to the 40.1 Tflop/s mark on the Linpack benchmark, compared to 31.1 Tflop/s six months ago. This effectively reduced Indian presence on the list to just two systems ( from 4 in the November 2010 list): the Eka system at Tata Sons CRL ( no 58) rated 132.8 TFlops and the system at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology ( also at Pune) ( no 221) rated 55.1 Tflops.

For the first time, all of the top 10 systems achieved petaflop/s performance
– and those are also the only petaflop/s systems on the list. The U.S. is tops in petaflop/s with five systems performing at that level; Japan and China have two each, and France has one.

In second place after capturing No. 1 on the previous list is the Tianhe-1A supercomputer the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, with a performance at 2.6 petaflop/s. Jaguar, a Cray supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was at No. 3 with 1.75 petaflop/s.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Nebulae at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Shenzen (1.27 petaflop/s), Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (1.19 petaflop/s), Cielo at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (1.11 petaflop/s), Pleiades at the NASA Ames Research Center in California (1.09 petaflop/s), Hopper at DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in California (1.054 petaflop/s), Tera 100 at the CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) in France (1.05 petaflop/s), and Roadrunner at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (1.04 petaflop/s).

The New Number One

The K Computer, built by Fujitsu, currently combines 68544 SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs, each with eight cores, for a total of 548,352 cores—almost twice as many as any other system in the TOP500. The K Computer is also more powerful than the next five systems on the list combined. This system achieved the world's best LINPACK benchmark performance of 8.162 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point operations per second), to place it at the head of the TOP500 list. In addition, the system has recorded high standards with a computing efficiency ratio of 93.0%.

The K Computer’s name draws upon the Japanese word "Kei" for 10^16 (ten quadrillions), representing the system's performance goal of 10 petaflops. RIKEN is the Institute for Physical and Chemical Research. Unlike the Chinese system it displaced from the No. 1 slot and other recent very large system, the K Computer does not use graphics processors or other accelerators. RIKEN and Fujitsu have been working together to develop the K computer, with the aim of beginning shared use by November 2012, as a part of the High-Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI) initiative led by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

(Details sourced from Top500, Fujitsu releases)

Link to Top500:  

Link to K Computer:  

June 27 2011


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