Slideshow: The top 5 fastest supercomputers and their power management challenges

-May 28, 2013

It’s tough to keep up with who has the fastest supercomputer nowadays. The Fujitsu K was the fastest in late 2011 but as of November 2012 Cray’s Titan took the top spot. More speed means more power demanded from the power supply, not to mention redundancy back-up power, and the need to deal with all the heat dissipation from such a beast.

David Goldman from CNN listed the top five supercomputers in the world back in November 2012 and I believe these five still hold these positions. One thing to keep in mind is that the United States has 251 of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the latest list. That’s a great deal of energy that we need to supply to these systems:

No. 1: Cray’s Titan (United States)

Titan, the U.S. Department of Energy's top open science supercomputer, was officially crowned the world's fastest computer in late October 2012.

The new supercomputer is located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the Tennessee Valley. It is capable of 17.6 petaflops (quadrillions of calculations per second). It was a close race for the top position: Titan outperforms its nearest competitor by just over a petaflop.

Jaguar, Titan's predecessor, was the world's fastest in 2010. Today, Jaguar would have placed tenth -- Titan is 10 times faster. I told you things change fast in the world of supercomputers!

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