IBM supercomputer reclaims world’s fastest title

IBM’s Sequoia supercomputer has reclaimed the top spot on the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers for the USA.The newly installed system beat Japan’s K Computer made by Fujitsu which fell to second place.

It is the first time the USA can claim first place since it was beaten by China two years ago.

Sequoia will be used to carry out simulations to help extend the life of aging nuclear weapons, avoiding the need for real world underground tests.

It is installed at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

“While Sequoia may be the fastest, the underlying computing capabilities it provides give us increased confidence in the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” said National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administrator Thomas D’Agostino.

The computer is capable of calculating in one hour what otherwise would take roughly the entire world’s population of 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years to complete if they all worked non stop.

Although the US’s efforts helped secure it the lead, its overall tally of three computers in the top 10 was worse than six months ago when it had five. China and Germany both have two supercomputers, while Japan, France and Italy have one.

Sequoia is 1.55 times faster than the Fujitsu model, and uses over 1.5 million processors. In comparison the Japanese model has less than half the number of CPUs (central processing units).
Energy efficient

The IBM supercomputer is also more energy efficient than the Fujitsu model. Sequoia consumes 7.9 megawatts compared to the K computer which uses 12.6 megawatts.