A computer built for the National Nuclear Security Administration by IBM has just been crowned the world’s fastest supercomputer, according to the Top 500 Supercomputer list — stealing the lead back from Japan’s Fujitsu-designed K computer.
The NNSA computer, called Sequoia, is based on IBM's Blue Gene/Q architecture and manages to reach 16.32 sustained petaflops -- that's 16.32 quadrillion floating point operations per second. That blows away the K computer, which only -- only! -- manages 10.51 petaflops. IBM offers an alternative explanation of its performance, explaining that '"three billion people using a pocket calculator would have to perform one million operations per second to reach equivalent SuperMUC performance." Wow.
It's easy to understand when you consider Sequoia's specs: it houses 1.6 million cores with 1.6 petabytes of RAM. Still, it is the size of a room, filling 96 racks, and is ugly as hell -- but then, some people prefer brains over beauty. [Top 500 via The Verge]
Image by NNSA