Crowning the World's New Fastest Supercomputer

This article is from the archive of our partner .

News leaked ahead of Tuesday's announcement that researchers have crowned the world's fastest supercomputer in 2009. The "Jaguar System" is a massive cluster of towers designed by Cray Inc. that uses microchip processors manufactured by AMD--recent beneficiaries of a massive court settlement with Intel. Housed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory near Knoxville, Tennessee, the Jaguar system runs at a blinding 1.75 petaflops per second. (In layman's terms, that means it would take the average Intel-powered laptop 2,000 years to complete the same operations that the Jaguar can do in 9 hours.) Tech commentators applauded the new computing king, but cautioned that Intel and IBM may soon return to supercomputing dominance.

  • On Top but Outnumbered  ChannelWeb's Joseph F. Kovar quotes an AMD spokesperson named John Furehe, who says that while the new rankings represent a triumph for the world's second largest supplier of microprocessors, their enemy still controls the market: "While AMD could brag about its showing at the very top of the list of world's fastest supercomputers, Furehe admitted that its presence in 42 of the top 500 was one less than last year. Intel meanwhile grew its presence to 402 systems, up from 399 on the June edition of the list."
  • Temporary Victory  Forbes' Andy Greenberg was impressed by the AMD and Cray machine's new standing, but said that competition from home and abroad (in China) was sure to be fierce. "IBM doesn't plan on letting any competitor--foreign or domestic--take its top spot for long. By 2011, the company has promised to deliver a system known as Sequoia, whose projected 20 petaflops would add up to more than the rest of the current list combined."
  • But AMD Has a Plan Too  Over at Little About, Sunil Vyas explains why he thinks AMD still has a shot at maintaining the title for another year: "Although, in spite of all these accomplishments, the TOP500 list of supercomputers is dominated by AMD's archrival, Intel, AMD, thanks to its triumph, will have a better chance next year when it will introduce a new range of microprocessors that will pack even more cores (8, 12 and 16 respectively) per CPU."
  • Great News for Consumers  An article in the Electronics Engineering Herald explains why the new supercomputer rankings are significant even for those of us who don't work with "teraflops" and staggering amounts of data: "With these levels of achievements, having supercomputers on your laps is not far away, and also possible is the present notebooks and netbooks computers available for a price of few 10s of dollars, only due the effort of the super semiconductor companies like this."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.