The Sequoia supercomputer a system built by IBM for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in California, is the now the most powerful supercomputer on earth, according to rankings released today. It led the top500.org list, which ranks the worlds supercomputers according to a standard software benchmark, delivering 16.32 petaflops (a thousand trillion [<?] floating point operations per second) using 1 572 864 processor cores. It marks the first time since November 2009 that a U.S. supercomputer has topped the charts.
The IBM machine made use of the company’s BlueGene/Q computing system, which features 18-core processors based on the PowerPC architecture. Overall, IBM systems had a good showing, accounting for 47.5 percent of the computing power in the top 500 list, easily outpacing it’s next nearest competitor Hewlett Packard.
Sequoia’s nearest competitor, Fujitsu’s K computer, has topped the charts during 2011. It managed 10.51 petaflops using 705 024 cores. It was followed by a U.S. system—the Mira supercomputer, another IBM machine, that pulled 8.1 petaflops with 786 432 cores.
European computers had a good showing, with two German machines and the first Italian top 10 system on the list, as well as France grabbing the number 9 spot with it’s homebrew Bull supercomputer.
Meanwhile, China’s Tianhe-1A took number five, and the Nebulae system, in Shenzhen, came in at number 10.
Samuel K. Moore is the senior editor at IEEE Spectrum in charge of semiconductors coverage. An IEEE member, he has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from Brown University and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.