According to an ITworld.com article, the U.S. Department of Energy completed the deployment of a 20-petaflop supercomputer at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on Monday. The aptly named computer giant Titan will purportedly give the United States an edge over Japan and China in building the world’s fastest computer.
Titan is capable of processing 20,000 trillion calculations per second and is ten times faster than its predecessor, Jaguar. Titan’s deployment anticipates the release of the latest Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputer, and hopes to oust the 2011 winner Sequoia.
According to Jeffrey Nichols, associate laboratory director for the computing and computational sciences directorate at ORNL, “American competitiveness is very important from a global security and national security perspective. It’s absolutely important that we are competitive in this high-tech field so the science solutions we are solving are competitive and put us on the leading edge of where we need to be in solving these problems.”
Nichols explains that the U.S. makes more effective use of computing power to solve top science problems in the country because they welcome proposals from scientists and allows 40 projects a year (selected based on scientific merit) to use the computing facilities in the lab for free, rather than charging to utilize the equipment as they do in China.
Itworld.com mentions that just as the U.S. deploys the mighty Titan, China is already working towards overthrowing Titan with their behemoth Tianhe-2 which is expected to run 100 petaflops (a quadrillion calculations per second) and is slated for a 2015 deployment.
Along with the 100 petaflop goal, China also has a goal to run a super computer at 1 exaflop (1,000 petaflops) in 2018 (a goal Oak Ridge National Laboratories hope to achieve by 2020). At this point, the United States, Europe, China, and Japan are all working towards the milestone, but it is difficult to say who will reach the exaflop threshold first.
The latest list of top 500 supercomputers from top500 will be released at the SC12 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 13.
Check out ORNL for tech specs on Titan.