Entries with tag supercomputers.

Supercomputer Performance Improvements Are Slowing

Growth in the performance of the world’s most powerful computers, which has increased steadily for 20 years, is now slowing, according to the recently released Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. An international research team releases the list, released by in June and November of each year at major supercomputing conferences. The report released this month showed that the combined performance of all 500 ranked computers increased to 274 petaflops from 250 petaflops in November 2013. Researchers deemed this “a noticeable slowdown in growth.” The Tianhe-2 at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, remains atop the list, as it has for three consecutive reports, with a speed of 33.86 petaflops. (CNET)(PC Mag)(Top500 – 1)(Top500 -- 2)

IBM Watson Tasked with Combating Brain Cancer

Scientists are deploying IBM’s Watson cloud-based supercomputing technology to help find individualized treatments for brain cancer. Researchers from the New York Genome Center will use Watson to sequence 800 billion base pairs of DNA from a tumor. They will then give the system the DNA data and clinical information from medical literature to find the best possible treatment for a patient with glioblastoma, the most common type of malignant brain cancer affecting US adults. A single researcher could sequence 140 pairs of DNA in a year, but Watson can sequence 75 million pairs in one second. The project will initially work with 20 brain cancer patients. IBM says it hopes the IBM Watson-based treatment-development system will be viable for commercial use in no more than a year or so.  (The Associated Press)(CIO Magazine)

Intel Readies 800 Gigabit per Second Fiber Technology

Intel plans to release 800-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) fiber cables later this year, for use primarily in supercomputers and datacenters. Today, large datacenters typically use 10-Gbps cables. These new cables offer faster data transmission speeds at greater distances. The technology will likely be used for faster switch connections or linking servers to either extra storage or GPUs. The new product is based on Intel’s Silicon Photonics technology, which enables speeds of 25 Gbps for each fiber strand within the cable, and can maintain 800-Gbps rates over distances of up to 300 meters. (SlashDot)(Ars Technica) 

New Chinese Supercomputer Named World’s Fastest

A new Chinese supercomputer debuted atop a recently released list of the world’s most powerful computing systems. The Tianhe-2, which the government-run National University of Defense Technology developed, topped the latest Top500 list with a tested performance of 33.86 petaflops (one petaflops is 1015 flops). The second and formerly top-ranked system on the biannual list is the US’s Titan—housed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory—which performs 17.59 petaflops. The US’s Sequoia computer ranked third, followed by the Japanese K and the US’s Mira. The Tianhe-2 uses Intel Ivy Bridge and Xeon Phi chips with 3,120,000 computing cores and has a theoretical peak performance of 54.9 petaflops. Most of the components are Chinese-made, including the Kylin Linux operating system. Of the systems on the Top500, the US has 252, China now has 66, Japan has 30, the UK has 29, and France has 23. Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of the US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, compile the list. (BBC)(Top500 Supercomputer Sites) 

Cray Releases Low-Cost Supercomputer

Supercomputers typically sell for millions of dollars, but Cray Inc. is now offering a system for $500,000. The XC30-AC reportedly has the same software and processors as the XC-30, which sells for between $10 and $30 million. The system costs less because it is, in part, air cooled and does not use optical cables. For its new computer, Cray is targeting manufacturers from the Fortune 100 to 1,000, as well as pharmaceutical, oil and gas firms; smaller universities; government agencies; and research labs. Supercomputer sales are increasing with purchases up 30 percent in 2012, according to market-research firm IDC, as the hardware has become increasingly affordable for a greater number of organizations. Analysts expect the new Cray offering to attract first-time supercomputer buyers. (CNNMoney)(Information Week)

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