There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed - W. Somerset Maugham
A JAPANESE SUPERCOMPUTER has broken the record as the fastest computer in the world, performing a whopping 10 quadrillion calculations per second.
The supercomputer dubbed the K Computer is made up of over 88,000 SPARC64 VIIIfx central processing units, considerably more than the quad-, hexa-, or octa-core processors used in high-end gaming machines. It is also occupies 864 server racks.
The K Computer previously held the world record when it was able to reach eight quadrillion calculations per second, but now it has passed the 10 quadrillion mark, which is equivalent to 10.51 petaflops, or floating-point operations per second, the standard measure of a computer's scientific calculation performance that is traditionally employed for supercomputers.
The K Computer, named after the Japanese word for 10 quadrillion, 'kei', was a joint effort by Riken and Fujitsu. NEC and Hitachi had originally intended to help build the supercomputer, but the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the country earlier this year caused them to withdraw.
The total cost of the computer is not known, but in June when it hit 1 quadrillion calculations per second, or one petaflop, it consumed 9.89 megawatts of power, with an annual cost of $9.89m (£6.18m), according to Wired, which means it likely costs significantly more than that to run now.
"The K Computer is a key national technology that will help lay the foundation for Japan's further progress," said Ryoji Noyori, president of Riken, according to French news agency AFP. "I am delighted that it has achieved its major objective, demonstrating our strong technical power." µ
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