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Japanese ‘K’ Computer Is Ranked Most Powerful

New York Times (06/19/11) Verne G. Kopytoff

Japan’s K Computer was ranked number one on the latest Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. The K Computer achieved a top speed of 8.2 petaflops per second, three times faster than China’s Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which previously held the record as the world’s fastest computer. The K Computer, which was built by Fujitsu and is located at the Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science, is composed of 672 cabinets filled with system boards and uses enough electricity to power almost 10,000 homes at a cost of about $10 million per year, according to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville professor Jack Dongarra, who keeps the official rankings of computer performance. “It’s a very impressive machine,” Dongarra says. “It’s a lot more powerful than the other computers.” Japan and China hold four of the top five spots on the latest Top500 list, while the United States has five of the top 10 spots on the list. It is the first time since 2004 that Japan has topped the supercomputer rankings, but Dongarra notes that the Blue Waters supercomputer being built at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign could offer speeds similar to the K Computer.


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