U.S. government has world's six fastest computers

The federal government owns the world's six fastest computers

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

NOV. 6'The federal government owns the world's six fastest computers, and seven of the top 10, according to a semiannual independent survey of high-performance computers.

The Energy Department's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative has the fastest four systems, including the new ASCI White, an 8,192-processor IBM RS/6000 SP at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no18/news/2348-1.html].

On the Linpack test, a linear algebra program used as a benchmark by researchers who rank the world's supercomputers, ASCI White reached 4.94 trillion floating-point operations per second, making it more than twice as fast as the second-ranked supercomputer. An ASCI White prototype ranked 153rd last June.

Making its debut among the top 10 is an IBM RS/6000 SP at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Camp Springs, Md.

A year ago, the RS/6000 was No. 26, with 768 IBM Power3 processors, but the National Weather Service has since upgraded it to 1,104 processors, giving it the power to perform at 1.18 TFLOPS on the Linpack test. The agency uses it to produce detailed atmospheric simulations for weather forecasts [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no4/enterprise/1337-1.html]

Overall, the U.S. government owns 75 of the 500 fastest computers. Seventeen are listed as classified.

Computer scientists at the University of Tennessee and Mannheim University in Germany compile the supercomputer rankings twice a year. The full list, along with a description of the benchmark used to rank the systems, is available on the Web at Top 500.

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