Japanese K system claims supercomputer crown

A Japanese system dubbed “K” has taken first place on the supercomputer TOP500 list announced today in Hamburg, Germany.

The system – which is only half built – boasts 672 computer racks equipped with a total of 68,544 CPUs. 

The incredible amount of raw superpower allows K to achieve a staggering LINPACKbenchmark performance of 8.162 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point operations per second) and a computing efficiency ratio of 93.0%. 

Currently ranked the fastest supercomputer in the world, K has overtaken the former Chinese heavyweight champion Tianhe-1A, which clocks in at second place with 2.6 petaflop/s. 

Also moving down a notch was Jaguar, a Cray supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which now holds third place with 1.75 petaflop/s.

According to K designers RIKEN and Fujitsu, the supercomputer will feature over 800 computer racks – each equipped with ultrafast and energy-efficient CPUs – when it is completed in 2012.

Final K speeds are slated to hit a whopping 10 petaflops.

The system will be used by researchers across a number of disciplines, including global climate research, meteorology, disaster prevention and medicine.