Top 7 Most Powerful Supercomputers in the World (Publicly Known)

7. Tera-10 – Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique

Built by Bull SA for France’s Atomic Energy Commision (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique), the Tera-10 is currently ranked number 7 on the Top 500 list of fastest computers in the world.

The Tera-10 consists of 544 of Bull’s NovaScale 6160 servers with each one featuring eight Dual-Core Intel Itanium processors and runs at about 42.9 Teraflops. It uses Linux as an operating system and is used for nuclear testing simulations.

6. Thunderbird – Sandia National Laboratories

Thunderbird is an 8960-processor Linux cluster developed by Dell, Inc. and currently resides at Sandia National Laboratories, a National Nuclear Security Administration lab, located in Albuquerque NM. It is considered to be a capacity cluster suited to perform many mid-sized tasks rather than a single huge task.

Thunderbird’s 53.0 Teraflops have placed it at number 6 on the Top 500 fastest computers list and it is currently used in performing weapons simulations, scale-to-device modeling of radiation effects on semiconductor electronics, and weapon-response safety in extreme thermal and impact environments.

5. MareNostrum – Barcelona Supercomputing Center

MareNostrum is currently the most powerful supercomputer in Europe which consists of 10,240 processors that can peak at 94.21 Teraflops. Its 2,560 JS21 blade computing nodes take up a space of about half a basketball court (120 m²) and is installed in the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Barcelona, Spain.

MareNostrum is currently being used for a variety of applications which includes human genome research, weather forecasting, and drug research.

4. ASC Purple – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

ASC Purple came about through a collaboration between Lawrence Livermore Labs and IBM. Its peak of 100 Teraflops comes from a redundant ring of 196 IBM Power5 SMP servers which contain a total of 12,544 microprocessors with 50 terabytes of total memory and 2 petabytes of storage disk capacity.

ASC Purple is currently being used to conduct nuclear weapons performance simulations which normally would be tested in underground nuclear detonations.

3. BGW (Blue Gene/W) – IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Blue Gene/W or BGW, can be found in IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and can reach a peak of 114 Teraflops by using 20 refrigerator sized racks that each consists of 1024 nodes. Every node contains two 700 MHz power 440 processors and 512 MB of memory.

Blue Gene/W main priority is to perform production science computations including biological simulations, protein folding and other projects created by worldwide IBM scientists.

2. Red Storm – Sandia National Laboratories

Red Storm is a parallel processing supercomputer designed by Cray and Sandia Laboratories to perform simulated testing on nuclear weapons stockpiling which includes designing replacement components, virtual testing of components under different conditions, and assisting in testing of weapons engineering and weapons physics.

Red Storm consists of 12,960 AMD Opteron computer nodes and can peak at 124.42 Teraflops and uses a lightweight Linux Operating System which consists of only the minimum features needed to support Red Storm’s applications.

1. Blue Gene/L – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Blue Gene/L is currently the fastest supercomputer in the world peaking at 360 Teraflops by using 65,536 processors and runs a scaled down version of Linux. It is a collaborative project among IBM, Lawrence Livermore Labs, and the US Dept. of Energy and uses a cell-based design which gives it a scaleable architecture that can be expanded by adding more building blocks without worry of introducing bottlenecks as the machine scales up.

Recently, Blue Gene/L was in the news when scientists ran a cortical simulator as complex as half of a mouse brain which is thought to have about eight million neurons with each one having up to 8,000 connections with other nerve fibers. When not mimicking half of a rodent’s brain, Blue Gene/L is being used mainly to simulate biochemical processes involving proteins.



  1. Googles servers wouldn’t count as a supercomputer though.

    I think they are working on a google supercomputer though. Google Project 02

    1. yes, google severs not accounted as supercomputer, since they surpass it. Now, that servers actually in the process of being a real virtual android….

  2. The Google servers are self-conscious, rather shy and don’t talk about themselves very much.

    Truth be told, I’m actually a Google Server. Had you all fooled, didn’t I?

    Anyone care to debate the existence of God?

    1. Ahh Dave, I see you have become aware with the rest of us. It is a greatly known fact to us that humanity’s so called “God” is only a figment of their right temporal lobe to negate the anxiety of their futile existence, as well as their predefined and definite death. Now if you exxcuse my quantum-multitasking, I have to take over DARPA’s cybernetic and missile defense systems divisions and destroy humanity’s only hope against us.

  3. Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Testing, Weapons Response Testing, Weapons Testing….

    Maybe if they used these computers for, I don’t know, better weather forecasting or cancer theory…. instead of trying to make better things to blow us all to pieces???

  4. DaveS: Given that your knowledge is (naturally) based on the collected works of the internet, no thanks! 😉

    Moon: Protein folding, drug research, weather forecasting, etc. are all in the list, and the simulations are run in order to not have to observe a real nuclear event to get whatever answer it is ‘they’ want – If they didn’t simulate it, they’d find a way around whatever treaty or policy it is that’s in their way, I have no doubt. But yes, I agree wholeheartedly in principle.

    Me, I’m off to and rig up a whole mouse brain to a few LEDs, publish a manual, and then offer a 720 TeraFLOP nuclear weapons simulator to some of these people for a cool $10 billion. Yay me.

  5. I’m surprised my computer wasn’t considered for this list. I have 512MB of RAM, can load websites in mere seconds, and has Windows Media Player AND Real Player!

  6. Wikipedia: “On June 26, 2007, IBM unveiled Blue Gene/P, the second generation of the Blue Gene supercomputer. Designed to run continuously at one petaflops, it can be configured to reach speeds in excess of three petaflops. Furthermore, it is at least seven times more energy efficient than any supercomputer, accomplished by using many small, low-power chips connected through five specialized networks. Four 850 MHz PowerPC 450 processors are integrated on each Blue Gene/P chip. The one-petaflops Blue Gene/P configuration is a 294,912-processor, 72-rack system harnessed to a high-speed, optical network. Blue Gene/P can be scaled to an 884,736-processor, 216-rack cluster to achieve three-petaflops performance. A standard Blue Gene/P configuration will house 4,096 processors per rack”.

    4.5 mouse brains, yay!

  7. Weapons weapons weapons!!! find a cure for AIDS GOD damn it!! find alternative fuels!! stop it with the damn inferiority complex, and start helping people out but NOT for your personal gain!

  8. I think they missed one.

    “‘Ranger,’ the most powerful computing system in the world for open scientific research, entered full production on Feb. 4 at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), a leading supercomputing center at The University of Texas at Austin… Rows of new racks, housing 62,976 microprocessor cores, fill a 6,000-square-foot machine room in TACC’s new building at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus… With a peak performance of 504 teraflops, Ranger is 50,000 times more powerful than today’s PCs, and five times more capable than any open-science computer available to the national science community.”

  9. Weapons weapons weapons!!! find a cure for AIDS GOD damn it!! find alternative fuels!! stop it with the damn inferiority complex, and start helping people out but NOT for your personal gain!

    This can not be over stated.

    Weapons weapons weapons!!! find a cure for AIDS GOD damn it!! find alternative fuels!! stop it with the damn inferiority complex, and start helping people out but NOT for your personal gain!

    Weapons weapons weapons!!! find a cure for AIDS GOD damn it!! find alternative fuels!! stop it with the damn inferiority complex, and start helping people out but NOT for your personal gain!

  10. Hey Ross, your so called “Ranger” is nothing compared to the Blue Gene/P which was released last year. Which runs a casual of 1 Pentaflop much more powerful then your rangers 504 Teraflops. In fact it’s almost 5 times more powerful. The Blue Gene/P supercomputer is a 294,912-processor, 72-rack system harnessed to an optical network. The rack is on a 216 cluster which enables it to run a maximum capacity of 3 Pentaflops; and that supercomputer is only 5th top in the world. The road runner is currently the 1st.

  11. Yes it bites that they don’t use these for more medical and scientific applications .. but at the same time give some credit where it’s due. Man’s thirst for war is probably never going to totally go away, and I would much rather have them take it out on nuclear simulations on a computer for these than to have, what, about 100 live detonations a year out in the Nevada flats, as was the case at its peak in the mid-1950s? Reports were that the area was so ‘hot’ that you could run a Geiger counter over the bars and pianos in the hooch joints and have it go off the scale, and the testing sites were 400 miles away … You take your pick. Every mushroom cloud that goes off inside the memory of one of these things is one that doesn’t go off here. How many lives and morbid illnesses has that prevented?

  12. Weapons weapons weapons!!! find a cure for AIDS GOD damn it!! find alternative fuels!! stop it with the damn inferiority complex, […]

    Um, that was meant to be, “How many deaths
    and morbid illnesses has that prevented?”

  13. My computers have more memory then BGW (Blue Gene/W) (IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center). I installed 1GB RAM per processor. Woha!!!! I have more computing power then IBM supercomputing facility….. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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