NEC Builds Worlds Fastest System

By Timothy Dyck  |  Posted 2002-07-08 Print this article Print

There's a new big dog on the block.

Theres a new big dog on the block. On June 20, this years first update of the top 500 supercomputers list (which is updated twice a year) has a new first-place entry, an NEC-built vector processing system that is 5 times faster than the IBM system that was formerly ranked No. 1.

In fact, the supercomputer, called Earth Simulator, has as much computing power as the next 12 systems on the list combined.

As of just three years ago, the computing power of every one of the worlds top 500 computers would have to be combined to reach Earth Simulators 35- teraflop capacity, showing how fast the front edge of this technology curve is moving.

The system was built for the Earth Simulator Center in Yokohama, Japan.

The computers 35 teraflops of performance, 5,120 CPUs and 10 terabytes of RAM are used to model a virtual earth down to a 1-km resolution. The simulation will be studied by researchers to examine the effects of global warming on climate change, acid rain and other types of air pollution, tectonic plate movement, and other earthwide phenomena.

The worlds now-second-fastest system, ASCI White, located at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is used by the U.S. Department of Energy to model the effects of nuclear explosions.

The fastest PC-based supercomputer (at No. 35 on the list) is an AMD Athlon MP-based cluster at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany.

Timothy Dyck is a Senior Analyst with eWEEK Labs. He has been testing and reviewing application server, database and middleware products and technologies for eWEEK since 1996. Prior to joining eWEEK, he worked at the LAN and WAN network operations center for a large telecommunications firm, in operating systems and development tools technical marketing for a large software company and in the IT department at a government agency. He has an honors bachelors degree of mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a masters of arts degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.

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