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K Computer passes 10 petaflop milestone, extends lead as fastest supercomputer

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K Computer_640px
K Computer_640px

K Computer, the Japanese supercomputer that took the TOP500 crown as the world's fastest back in June, has improved on its own top score with a new 10.51 petaflop achievement. Put in other words, that means a total of 88,128 processors, working in concert, have been used to execute over 10.5 quadrillion calculations per second. The measurement was done using Linpack, which the supercomputer managed to run for 29 hours straight without failure. Fujitsu, the company responsible for putting this grand project together, notes that the operating system, compiler, and other system software are still being optimized, so we can probably expect the K Computer to nudge its performance ceiling a little bit higher still.

Some of the computational power of this supercomputer is already being utilized by researchers, and the ultimate goal is to dedicate it to helping run simulations that can harness its full capabilities. Those include models of atmospheric circulation, seismic wave propagation, and nanomaterial behavior. The latter is most intriguing, as the K Computer could help accelerate research into nanowires and carbon nanotubes that could in turn result in faster and more efficient semiconductors. Which is to say that Fujitsu's super K may end up at least partially responsible for the technology that goes into the next supercomputer champ.