Monday, November 17, 2008

IBM Roadrunner Tops Cray as the Official World's Fastest Supercomputer [Supercomputers]


It's like a geek soap opera. Just last week, Cray bragged that their updated Jaguar XT supercomputer was the world's fastest. Now this week, IBM responds to the trash talk with a number one ranking of their Roadrunner system on the newly published Top500 supercomputing list.

Both the IBM and Cray systems break the petaflop processing barrier according to Top500 measurements (1.45 petaflops vs 1.38 petaflops, respectively). Heck, even IBM admitted to us that the two computers "run neck and neck." But there's a huge difference between them.

The Roadrunner uses roughly half the power of the Jaguar XT.

It assembles 12,960 IBM PowerXCell 8i Cell Broadband Engine processors and an additional 6,948 AMD Opteron Dual-Core processors. The AMD equipment handles "basic" functions while the IBM chips handle the intense number crunching. (Read all about the Roadrunner here.)

Seeing as the Cray XT5 uses 45,000 quad-core AMD Opteron processors to get the same job done, you've gotta be at least a little impressed. [Top500]