The fastest computers in the world have the most sophisticated computing systems and mind-blowing abilities to perform complex computations in a fraction of a second. These complex machines are vital for new scientific research, weather forecasting, cell modeling at molecular level, nuclear test simulation, and even more complex operations such as simulating the human brain.
The Fastest Supercomputers
Among the most powerful computers in the world, China claims the first spot with the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer. This incredible machine was developed by National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and installed at the National Supercomputing Center located in Wuxi, China. It is the most powerful supercomputer in the world with the ability to carry out 93 quadrillion computations per second. It has over 41,000 chips and boasts of over 10 million processor cores. At 6051 megaflops per watt, it is also the most energy-efficient computer system in the world.
The Tianhe-2 takes the second spot of the fastest supercomputers in the world. It is a Chinese owned supercomputer developed by the National University of Defense Technology and located at the National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou. It was the fastest supercomputer in the world in June 2013, with a peak performance of 33 petaFLOPS (floating-point operations per second) produced by over 3.1 million processor cores. Currently, it is used by the Chinese government to simulate security applications. It is also used by scientists in southern China for conducting new research and simulations.
Piz Daint is a Swiss-owned supercomputer and the fastest in Europe. Piz Daint received a hardware upgrade, a Cray XC50 system installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano Cornaredo. This allowed it to climb five positions up in the top ten with a performance of 19.6 petaflops up from 9.6 petaflops. It provides advanced visualization technology and imaging simulations of high resolution. It is going to be important in providing processing power to the Hadron Collider at CERN.
Titan is the fastest supercomputer in the United States and the fourth most powerful in the world. This complex machine is found in Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It was for many years the most powerful supercomputer in the world until it was overtaken by the Tianhe-2 in 2013. It has a practical peak performance of 17.6 petaflops. It is used for research in various fields such as astrophysics, molecular physics, and climate science.
The Sequoia is the fifth most powerful supercomputer in the world with a performance of 17.2 petaflops. It is owned by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the state of California, United States. The main use of the Sequoia is measuring the risk and effects of a nuclear warfare through advanced computations in weapons science.
The Future and Supercomputers
Computing power continues to grow exponentially with new demands for application in biological modeling and other scientific fields. To achieve realistic models, more powerful computers are needed. Governments and scientific institutions are investing heavily to develop more powerful processors to analyze complex data. Other top ten powerful supercomputers include:
• Cori (14.0 petaflops)
• Oakforest-PACS (13.6 petaflops)
• Fujitsu’s K computer (10.5 petaflops)
• Mira (8.6 petaflops)
• Trinity (8.1 petaflops)