An Japanese supercomputer has grabbed the title of fastest computer on earth in the new Top 500 Supercomputing List officially unveiled at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg today.
The K Computer is based at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan, and smashes the previous supercomputing records with a processing power of more than 8 petaflop/s (quadrillion calculations per second) - three times that of its nearest rival.
Second place, and the fastest machine on the list when it was last published in November was the Tianhe-1A, built by the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, In the latest round-up, the Chinese machine achieved 2.6 petaflop/s.
The K Computer's success marks the first time Japan has claimed the number one spot on the Supercomputing Top 500 since November 2004, when NEC's Earth Simulator was dethroned after a two-year reign.
In contrast to many of other machines on the list, the K Computer works without using GPU power. The K Computer was built by Fujitsu, and contains more than 80,000 2GHz SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs, each with eight cores, to deliver a total of more than 640,000 processing cores.
The K Computer consumes the most power - something, we'd imagine, in short supply in Japan at the moment - of any of the systems on the list. It draws a massive 9.89 megawatts. But given its gigantic processing output, it still manages to be the fourth most energy-efficient system in the 500, with a performance-per-watt rating of 825 megaflops per Watt. That compares to the average power efficiency among the 500 of 248 Mflop/W, up from 219 Mflop/W six months ago.