IBM Sequoia becomes most powerful supercomputer in the world

Graph analysis

IBM dominated the latest Top 500 supercomputer list, securing the coveted number one position and having three entries in the top five.

The IBM Sequoia system was announced as the fastest and most power efficient supercomputer in the world at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg. The machine which is based in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at the Department of Energy in the US, topped out at 16.32 Petaflops/s using the Linpack benchmark.

The system runs on Linux and uses 16-core Power BQC processors running at 1.60 GHz. A total of 1,572,864 cores provided the Sequoia with enough processing power to help it overtake Fujitsu's K Computer, which has been the system to beat over the last 12 months.

In the latest round of testing, the K Computer benchmarked at 10.51 Petaflop/s using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores. IBM's machine was also deemed to be 2.5 times more efficiency than its closest competitor, showing that Fujitsu has some work to do to catch up.

Meanwhile, IBM's Mira supercomputer, which can be found at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, debuted at number three on the list with a speed of 8.15 petaflop/s using 786,432 cores.

The fourth placed system, was the SuperMUC also made by IBM. This was also the highest entry for Intel, as the system used the Xeon E5-2680 8C 2.70GHz, Infiniband FDR chipset. The system is installed at Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in Germany and at this time is the most powerful system in Europe.

Overall, the performance of top 500 systems increased substantially when contrasted to the previous list released in November 2011. The combined performance of all the current system is 123.4 Pflop/s, which is 49.2 Petaflop/s higher than the previous list.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.