A Cray XT5 supercomputer dubbed “Jaguar” has claimed the spot as the world’s most powerful computer, taking away the crown from an IBM supercomputer called Roadrunner.

Located at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, Jaguar posted a 1.75 petaflop per second (petaflop/sec.) performance speed running a benchmark called the Linpack, according to the newest edition of the Supercomputer Top 500 list. The newest edition of the list was released at the SC 09 supercomputer conference this week in Portland, Ore.

This was actually Jaguar’s third attempt to take the title away from IBM’s Roadrunner, which has held the world’s top spot for the last 18 months. This time Jaguar roared ahead with new six core Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices. Jaguar utilizes nearly a quarter of a million cores and has a theoretical peak capacity of 2.3 petaflop/sec.

IBM’s Roadrunner system, which is installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, was the world’s first supercomputer to reach petaflop/sec. speeds. It claimed the top supercomputer crown in June 2008 and held the spot in the November 2008 and June 2009 Top 500 roundup. This time around, however, Roadrunner only managed a 1.04 petaflop/sec. performance, down from 1.105 petaflop/sec. in June 2009, which was attributed to a repartitioning of the system.

Kraken, another upgraded Cray XT5 system, installed at the National Institute for Computational Sciences at the University of Tennessee, claimed the No. 3 position with a performance of 832 teraflops/sec. No. 4 was the IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer located at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany at 825.5 teraflop/sec. And rounding out the top five was the new Tianhe-1, which means River in Sky, located at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin, China. Tianhe-1 is being used for research in petroleum exploration and simulation of large aircraft designs.

Overall, the world’s supercomputers are getting faster. The entry level of the latest Top 500 list moved up to 20 teraflop/sec. from 17.1 teraflop/sec. The last system on the latest list would have ranked No. 336 on the previous Top 500 list just six months ago.

The full list can be viewed here: http://www.top500.org/




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