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June 20, 2012

The IBM Sequoia is the World's Fastest SuperComputer

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Who owns the fastest supercomputer in the world?

After being so elusive for a couple of years, it seems the most powerful computer on the planet is back to the U.S. The announcement, made on Monday at the 2012 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany, identified the IBM (News - Alert) Sequoia, housed at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, as delivering 16.32 petaflops per second.

 Sequoia is being used by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to “provide a more complete understanding of weapons performance,” according to a press release from Lawrence Livermore.

The statement also said that “Supercomputers such as Sequoia have allowed the United States to have confidence in its nuclear weapons stockpile over the 20 years since nuclear testing ended in 1992.” The supercomputer is helping researchers simulate nuclear explosions and provide a better understanding of the state of the aging nuclear stockpiles.

Weighing the same as 30 elephants, Sequoia blows away the former supercomputer, Japan’s K Computer at the Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science, which delivers at 10.5 petaflops per second.  

Sequoia is part of the IBM/BlueGene/Q System, which has also seen the new Mira supercomputer developed and is currently the third fastest in the world. Mira is located at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

According to the current TOP500 List, 5 out of the top 10 positions are held by systems built by IBM. Some of the top ten giants include K Computer, the former No.1 taking position 2, SuperMUC from Germany at Position 4, Tianhe-1A from China at No. 5 and Jaguar from the US at No. 6. According to Livermore, Sequoia will be able to hit 20 petaflops per second when all its cylinders are firing by the end of the year.

By human standards, it would take all humans on Earth 320 years, working nonstop on a calculator for a single year, what Sequoia can crank out in an hour.

To find out more about IBM visit the company at ITEXPO West 2012. To be held Oct. 2-5 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit IBM in booth # 1324. For more information on ITEXPO West 2012 click here.

Edited by Braden Becker

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