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Hybrid supercomputer takes lead on TOP500 list

US Titan CPU/GPU supercomputer ranked fastest in the world

Hybrid supercomputer takes lead on TOP500 list
The Titan supercomputer is the first hybrid system to top the TOP500 list.

A new supercomputer system in the US has taken the title of fastest supercomputer in the world, according to the latest list from TOP500.

The ‘Titan' system, based at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, recorded a performance of 17.59 Petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark, the best performance of any system on the list.

The Titan system knocked out the IBM BlueGene/Q ‘Sequoia' supercomputer, which benchmarked at 16.32 Petaflops/s off the top spot.

The success of the Titan system, which exceeded expectations, marks the rise of supercomputers that use CPUs and graphics co-processors to boost performance, unlike systems including Sequoia, which utilise just CPUs. The Titan combines 560,640 Opteron 6200 processors and 261,632 NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores. There are now 62 systems on the list that use processors with accelerators, including the eighth-placed Chinese Tianhe-1A system.

While the Titan is not as efficient as the Sequoia, using 64.88% of its potential computational power, compared to Sequoia which uses 81.1%, it is the most energy efficient system on the list, consuming 8.21 megawatts and delivers 2,143 megaflops per watt.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology's (KACST) ‘SANAM' reached 52nd place on the list. The system, from Adtech, uses Intel Xeon E5 with AMD FirePro GPUs, and recorded a maximum performance of 421.2 Teraflops/s (one trillion floating point operations per second). The system has 38,400 CPU cores and 33,600 GPU cores.

Also ranking in the Middle East was the IBM-based Shaheen Blue Gene/P Solution, which is installed at Saudi's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which was 126th on the list, with a performance of 190.9 Teraflops; and Saudi Aramco's PowerEdge cluster, which ranked 273rd ranking at 107.2 Teraflops/s.

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