7. Tera-10 – Commissariat Ã l’Ã‰nergie Atomique
Built by Bull SA for France’s Atomic Energy Commision (Commissariat Ã l’Ã©nergie 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 mÂ²) 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.