Oak Ridge, Tennessee is tucked away in the rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau, located in north-central Tennessee.Â Nestled in this lush wilderness of Tennessee is Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL).Â ORNL was created in 1943 for the express purpose of developing a nuclear reactor (ORNL).Â ORNL, along with a network of other super-sophisticated research facilities, represent the best in global technical knowledge.
On Tuesday, ORNL was the sole owner of the world’s fastest computer.Â Called “Jaguar,” this huge computer is capable of 2.66 petaflops, that is 2.66 thousand trillion calculations per second.Â Built by Cray, this is not a desktop computer.Â The system occupies a space approximately 38ft x 47ft, comprised of 200 cabinets.Â All told, Jaguar has 224,526 computing cores.
On Wednesday, China announced (Reuters) that its National University of Defense Technology is now the sole title holder of the world’s fastest computer.Â Made from Nvidia computing chips, the new supercomputer title holder is not just a little bit faster than the Jaguar.Â According to Nvidia officials, the supercomputer is 30% faster than the #2 Jaguar.
Nvidia is supporting research concerns such as these as a means of promoting its graphic processing chips as general processing chips.Â One day, not too far in the future, Nvidia would like laptops and desktops powered with its own version of “Nvidia Inside.”
A few years ago, Nvidia invested in making its GPUs more flexible in order to better position Nvidia chips to compete with the likes of Intel and AMD, and diversify its reach beyond video games.
When researching this article, there seems to be discrepancy in the claims of calculation speed.Â Fast is fast, but in the realm of computational science, #1 is king.Â China may crow about supercomputing speed, but discrepancies in reporting may putÂ China’s claim into question.Â ORNL reports a calculating speed of 2.66 petaflops, while the National Center for Computational Sciences reports 2.33 petaflops.Â The new Chinese supercomputer is rated at a peak of 2.57 petaflops.
In other words, expect controversy!
Copyright (c) 2010 Michael Busby of Gather.com