Japan's 'K Computer' takes supercomputer crown

Summary:The K Computer, housed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, puts Japan back in the top spot for the first time since Nov. 2004.

Japan's K Computer, which can crunch more than 8 quadrillion calculations per second, is the top supercomputer, according to the Top 500 list of high-performance systems.

The K Computer, housed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, puts Japan back in the top spot for the first time since Nov. 2004.

Gallery: Inside the world's top supercomputer

On Monday, the Top 500 list was outlined at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg. These systems are ranked based on their Linpack scores, an application designed to solve dense linear equations.

The biggest takeaway on the list is that a system needs to operate at a petaflop per second scale to break the top 10. The U.S. has five systems operating at a petaflop scale, Japan and China have two each and France has one.

Japan's K Computer bumped the previous top dog---China's Tianhe-1A supercomputer. The K Computer is built by Fujitsu and has 548,352 cores, or 68,544 SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs with eight cores each. It's also notable that the K Computer doesn't use graphics processors or accelerators.

Other odds and ends:

  • China has 62 systems in the Top 500 list to be No. 2 to the U.S.
  • Intel has 77.4 percent of the systems in the list.
  • Quad-core processors are used in 46.2 percent of the systems with 42.4 percent using six or more cores.
  • Nvidia GPUs power 19 systems in the list.

Topics: China

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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