Titan Computer Is Fastest
November 12, 2012

Titan Now Officially The World’s Fastest Computer

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has completed some upgrades to their existing super computer, and they´ve become awfully proud of it. This new supercomputer combines the power of CPUs and GPUs, improving the power of the previous Jaguar supercomputer ten fold. The result: The Titan supercomputer takes up the same footprint of about 200 refrigerators and is said to be capable of calculating 20 petaflops without breaking a sweat. When the news was released about these new upgrades last month, the ORNL was confident the Titan would be the world´s fastest supercomputer. Now, the Top 500 List of the World´s Top Supercomputers has agreed, saying their Titan machine is indeed the fastest machine in the world.

The Titan, a Cray XK7 system with 560,640 processors and 261,632 NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores achieved just shy of the projected 20 petaflop marking, calculating 17.59 petaflops, or quadrillions of calculations per second.

Titan beat out the previous number one contender, Sequoia of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Sequoia, a supercomputer built on top of the IBM BlueGene/Q system, has now been moved to second place. During the last Top 500 tests this past June, the Sequoia used it´s 1,572,864 cores to churn out 16.32 petaflops. According to the Top 500 statement, Sequoia is also the first machine to house 1 million or more cores.

Elsewhere in the top 5 of the top 500 list are machines from Japan, Chicago and Germany. Fujitsu´s K computer came in at number 3, and is housed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan. The BlueGene/Q system performed very well in the most recent Top 500, backing the 2nd, 4th and 5th place machines. The 4th Place BlueGene/Q system supports Mira, a supercomputer from Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago, Illinois. JUQUEEN at the Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany scored number 5 and is also supported on the IBM BlueGene/Q architecture. Though JUQUEEN scored number 5 in the world, it was named the most powerful supercomputer in Europe.

A Dell PowerEdge C8220 system at the University of Texas at Austin by the name of Stampede also made the top ten list. This system uses the new Intel Xeon Phi processors, capable of working out 2.6 petaflops, much less than Titan´s 17.59.

According to Top500.org, Titan isn´t the only computer to combine CPU and GPU to achieve its high speeds. There are now a total of 62 systems in the Top 500 list which make use of the same principal, including number 8 on the list, the Chinese system Tianhe-1A. This supercomputer uses NVIDIA GPUs. When the last Top 500 list was released 6 months ago, there were 58 systems which took the hybrid approach.

The Top 500 list also acknowledges Intel, saying 76% of the Top 500 rated supercomputers make use of their processors. The AMD Opteron is used in 12% of these supercomputers (a total of 60 systems) while IBM Power Processors are used in 10.6% of these systems.

The USA is well-represented in this list with 250 of the 500 systems. Asia comes in second in terms of most High Powered Computers (HPC) per country at 124, with Europe coming in at number 3 with 105 systems.

While China comes in at number 2 for users of HPC, (they have a total of 72 systems) they fall behind Japan in terms of performance, where Japan holds the number 2 position.