The 2011 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg today witnessed a new king of supercomputers take the crown as the world’s most powerful. Fujitsu’s supercomputer, named simply ‘K,’ took the top title, blowing away the second place Tianhe computer from China that was the previous champ.
The Japanese computer’s name comes from the word ‘Kei,’ (10 peta or 10^16) which is a reference to the intended goal of 10 petaflops. And besides being the most powerful of all computers on the list, it is reportedly also one of the most energy efficient.
The competition requires the computers to run a mathematical equation, and according to a New York Times report K proved capable of doing 8.2 quadrillion calculations per second (8.2 petaflops). On its website Fujitsu explains this in laymans terms:
If the world’s 7 billion people could perform one computation per second, it would take about 17 days to complete 10,000,000,000,000,000 (one Kei) computations.
While K beat the competition this time by a wide margin, I’m not certain how long it can hold this lead. It looks like ‘K’ could keep the title for a while, but from watching this supercomputer race over the past few years, I know that the title changes hands very fast.
You can view the rankings below, or head on over to the Top500.org website to read more about the list.