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November 12, 2008

Oak Ridge National Labs Cray XT5 is the Fastest Computer for Open Science and NEC's SX-9 Supercomputer


The latest upgrade to the Cray XT Jaguar supercomputer at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has increased the system's computing power to a peak 1.64 “petaflops,” or quadrillion mathematical calculations per second, making Jaguar the world’s first petaflop system dedicated to open research. Scientists have already used the newly upgraded Jaguar to complete an unprecedented superconductivity calculation that achieved a sustained performance of more than 1.3 petaflops.

In the wikipedia timeline of supercomputers, a Cray supercomputer has not been the fastest computer in the world since 1989 when Florida State University's ETA10-G/8 bumped off the DOE Cray-2/8. Cray Supercomputers were fairly consistently dominating the supercomputer scene from 1976-1988.

Separately Japan's NEC has a SX-9 supercomputer at Tohoku University which is the tops in several benchmarks.

During the third quarter of 2008 Cray achieved a major milestone by successfully deploying all of the cabinets for the petaflops system, ahead of schedule. Starting at 26 TF (26 trillion calculations per second) in 2006, the XT system grew 60-fold in capability through a series of upgrades to what is today the world’s most capable system dedicated to open scientific research. Jaguar uses over 45,000 of the latest quad-core Opteron processors from AMD and features 362 terabytes of memory and a 10-petabyte file sys¬tem. The machine has 578 terabytes per second of memory bandwidth and unprec¬edented input/output (I/O) bandwidth of 284 gigabytes per second to tackle the biggest bottleneck in leading-edge systems—moving data into and out of processors. The upgraded Jaguar will undergo rigorous acceptance testing in late December before transitioning to production in early 2009.


Gallery of photos on the cray XT5





NEC SC-9 Supercomputer
NEC Corporation's SX-9 supercomputer, which began operation at Tohoku University's Cyber Science Center (Sendai City, Miyagi prefecture, Japan; Hiroaki Kobayashi, Director) in March 2008, has achieved the world's fastest standing in the High Performance Computing (HPC) field through scoring top marks on 19 of 28 areas in the HPC Challenge Benchmark test.



FURTHER READING
20 Page PDF on petascale computing.
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