The Sequoia supercomputer from IBM has been named the world’s fastest by Top500, which compiles that list.
The computer countdown has national connotations with much pride at stake, and the Sequoia’s triumph is the first time a US product has topped the list since 2009. The K Computer, manufactured by Japanese firm Fujitsu, had held the number one spot for two consecutive lists, but now drops to number two.
The US is currently the dominant nation of the top 10, producing three of the charted computers, while China and Germany follow with two apiece. Japan, France and Italy all have one.
Sequoia’s speed outstrips its rivals by a distance, clocking in 1.55 times faster than the Fujitsu model, largely thanks to its 1.5 million processors, in comparison to the K Computer’s 705,000. The IBM machine is also more energy efficient than its Japanese rival, consuming 7.9 megawatts to the Fujitsu’s 12.6
These statistics have seen IBM’s vice president of deep computing, David Turek, brand the Sequoia the “pinnacle of energy efficiency”. Buoyed by the top spot, Turek went on to tell the BBC, “Substantial planning went into this. We knew the day would come.”
He said reaction to the computer had been “very enthusiastic,” while government laboratories in Europe had “already expressed interest” in using the high-powered product.
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