Leading U.S. manufacturers are building systems that will be as fast as or much faster than K. In Japan, the supercomputer program is in jeopardy due to the budget crunch.
One is a 10-petaflop system called Blue Waters being developed at the University of Illinois, to be completed in July, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. It will rival K in speed.
Two other extremely powerful supercomputers under development at U.S. labs, "Sequoia" at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and "Titan" at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will be 20-petaflop machines, or capable of performing calculations two times faster than K, when they are completed next year.
In addition, a project is already under way in the United States to develop a 100-petaflop system by around 2018, with a prototype now in the works, according to the science ministry.
China has unveiled another petaflop supercomputer
China has built another supercomputer using the same technology as the Tianhe-1A system, which reigned briefly as the world's most powerful supercomputer.
The new supercomputer, called Tianhe-1, has a theoretical peak speed of 1.1 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second), slower than the Tianhe-1A, which has a theoretical peak speed of 4.7 petaflops and a sustained performance of 2.5 petaflops when measured with the Linpack benchmark.
Tianhe-1 went into operation this weekend at the national Changsha supercomputer center in the country's Hunan province. It will be used to perform simulations that will forecast the weather, help with disaster prevention and aid industrial fields including automobile manufacturing and medical research. More supercomputers from China are making the Top 500 list. The current tally is now at 61, up from the 24 the country had a year ago in June. The U.S. has 255 computers on the list.
The largest gas supplier Gazprom (Russia) might acquire a petascale supercomputer. The giant needs an HPC-system for seismic data processing and reservoir simulation. If the system is deployed, it is likely to be amongst the most powerful supercomputers in the world.
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