U.S. Supercomputer Snags Top Spot
A U.S.-based supercomputer has reached the top of the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful systems for the first time since 2009. The Sequoia system (an IBM BlueGene/Q unit) at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reached 16.32 petalfop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 1,572,864 cores. That bumped Japan’s K Computer, which had held the number one spot for the past two lists, down one slot to number two.
Another U.S. system, the Mira supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois (again, an IBM BlueGene/Q system) debuted at number three on the list at 8.15 petaflop/s using 786,432 cores. The only other U.S. system in the top 10 is the upgraded Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, now at number six on the list.
Sequoia is used for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Advanced Simulation and Computing program for stewardship of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.
While the U.S. hasn’t take the top spot in almost three years, it still dominates the list with just over half of the 500 supercomputing systems located here.
Total performance of the entire list has increased dramatically. In November 2011, that total was 74.2 Pflop/s; now it stands at 123.4 Pflop/s. Nearly 43 percent of the systems use IBM hardware, and the share of IBM processors has increased from 49 to 58 systems (11.6 percent). Intel still leads in processors by a wide margin; the chipmaker’s processors are in 74.4 percent of the TOP500 systems.
At the rate these systems are progressing, it’s likely we’ll have another Number One contender by the time Supercomputing 2012 rolls around in Salt Lake City this November.