Titan supercomputer displaces IBM's Sequoia as world's fastest

By on November 12, 2012, 3:30 PM

The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is now home to the world’s fastest supercomputer, according to the latest Top500 list. Aptly dubbed Titan, the Cray-built system knocked off IBM’s Sequoia after only six months in the top position, with a performance of 17.59 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark, or quadrillions of calculations per second, beating the previous record of 16.32 petaflops.

The new champion contains a whopping 710 terabytes of memory and 18,688 processing nodes between almost 300,000 AMD Opteron 6200 series cores and over 261,000 Nvidia K20x accelerator cores. Nvidia says the latter contributes up to 90% of the Titan’s performance, highlighting how GPGPU technology is becoming increasingly important in the supercomputer and high-performance computing (HPC) segments.

All in all, 62 systems on the latest Top500 list use some sort of additional accelerator or coprocessor chip.

The massive supercomputer is as big as a basketball court and uses enough power to run a small town. It is 10 times faster than Jaguar, Oak Ridge's previous supercomputer, which held the record in 2009, and will be used by researchers for things like studying climate change, alternative fuels, and nuclear power simulation.

Other supercomputers on the list included Fujitsu’s K computer at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Japan, which held the crown until displaced in June by Sequoia. Two other IBM BlueGene/Q supercomputers rounded out the top five, while Dell’s Stampede system equipped with Intel’s Xeon Phi coprocessor ranked seventh, and China’s Tianhe-1A took the eighth position.




User Comments: 19

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17 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

(in before 'yeah, but can it play Crysis?'

The worlds fastest computer runs off AMD!? I'd have lost that bet.

ikesmasher said:

The real question is not if it can play crysis, but:

Can it blend?

Guest said:

Yeah...but can it play Crysis?

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Titan - as in Titanic? Well good sail then!

Guest said:

Perhaps intel should build a super computer running intel processor and built-in graphics and call it wintel super computer.

and nvidia should build its own calling it NV (because envy is owned by hp)

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

The worlds fastest computer runs off AMD!? I'd have lost that bet.

Titan is the "old" Jaguar supercomputer updated with Nvidia Tesla K20X co-processors. As for why Opterons are still used as opposed to Intel Xeon, this may provide some insight:

Incidentally, the Opteron processors used in the system are dual-chip CPUs based on the Bulldozer microarchitecture. We asked Sumit Gupta, General Manager for Tesla Accelerated Computing at Nvidia, why those CPU were chosen for this project, given the Xeon's current dominance in the HPC space. Gupta offered an interesting insight into the decision. He told us the contracts for Titan were signed between two and three years ago, and "back then, Bulldozer looked pretty darn good."

Titan - as in Titanic? Well good sail then!

Did you think that up all by yourself ?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I thought the Chinese had the world's fastest supercomputer. Or is that just the one with the loudest mufflers?

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Titan - as in Titanic? Well good sail then!
Did you think that up all by yourself ?

If it's irony you want, then irony you'll get.. Did you know that "Megaupload's" seized files were hosted by "Carpathia's" servers?

2 people like this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I thought the Chinese had the world's fastest supercomputer. Or is that just the one with the loudest mufflers?

The Chinese used to have the fastest, but Titan has the new paint job that puts the Chinese to shame. I hear that the Chinese are looking to source a tail spoiler, some chrome rims and a good subwoofer, which should entail that they regain top spot.

If it's irony you want, then irony you'll get.. Did you know that "Megaupload's" seized files were hosted by "Carpathia's" servers?

Rescue followed by torpedo ?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

LMAO......That gets the first "like" of the new session.....

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Thanks, though I fear we've fallen short of the high bar that VitalyT has set

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Thanks, though I fear we've fallen short of the high bar that VitalyT has set
I think it was Satchel Paige that said, "don't look back, there's always somebody gaining on you".
Rescue followed by torpedo ?
I think it was Satchel Paige that said, "don't look back, there's always somebody gaining on you".

It's such a rare and blissful thing when one reply works for two different quotes....

But, speaking of "supercomputers", I bought a Core i3-3225 with a Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H (ATX) board for $215.00 US. The i3 has the 4000 series graphics. My question is, "will that graphic chip supply 1080p porn to my TV without complaint, or any appreciable stuttering? I hate it when an IGP locks up in mid-shag....

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Thanks, though I fear we've fallen short of the high bar that VitalyT has set

What's low is the creators' imagination for the name. It's just as original as calling it "The Best Supercomputer". Google for Titan products, you'll find millions. Ironically, half of them did do the Titanic thing

Zoltan Head said:

I quite fancy one - can someone recommend a case fan for it please?

Guest said:

Wow, this is so totally cool. By the way, what's a "petaflop"?

Pan Wah said:

Wow, this is so totally cool. By the way, what's a "petaflop"?

It's what bunnies do in Mr. McGregor's garden.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My cell phone will do that in sleep mode!

Kakkoii Kakkoii said:

(in before 'yeah, but can it play Crysis?')

The worlds fastest computer runs off AMD!? I'd have lost that bet.

Hah, well, it's more like it runs off Nvidia. The AMD processors are just there for a few minor tasks that the GPU still can't quite deal with well, so they obviously went with the cheapest option for that, instead of the highest performing :P

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

(in before 'yeah, but can it play Crysis?'

The worlds fastest computer runs off AMD!? I'd have lost that bet.

Hah, well, it's more like it runs off Nvidia. The AMD processors are just there for a few minor tasks that the GPU still can't quite deal with well, so they obviously went with the cheapest option for that, instead of the highest performing :P

completely wrong actually, except for the cost saving, the main reason they went with AMD CPUS was because jaguar was AMD, and they were not going to need to switch out the boards. Anandtech had a very well done article about titan two weeks ago. The new CPUs have have 16 Cores per CPU(jaguar was 12, and the new ones are based off the new Bulldozer architecture), there are 4 cpus and 4 gpus per board. For most of what Titans doing at this time its still very CPU core reliant, but the GPUS will become more and more key as the researchers code it into there programing.

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