East Bay Supercomputer Breaks World Speed Record
The world's fastest computer is now in the East Bay.
A new ranking out this morning shows that an IBM system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has broken the world speed record. The IBM Sequoia can do more than 16 quadrillion floating-point calculations per second, or 16 petaflops. That blows away the previous leader, a Japanese system, that does 10.5 petaflops. Lawrence Livermore uses its ultrafast computers for complex simulations, and for developing code in energy, life science and military applications.
The list comes from TOP500, a global measurement of the top supercomputers that's compiled partially by a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (LBNL has the #16 machine on the list, running at just over one petaflop.) The standard for the list, known as the Linpack Benchmark, uses a complex linear equation that a computer must perform to a high degree of specificity, as fast as possible.
Federal facilities are well represented on the TOP500, including Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center, a regular on the list since the early nineties. It's now ranked #11 with a computing speed of 1.243 petaflops. Lawrence Livermore also has other computers on the list with vast processing power, albeit far less than the top contender.