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America's Titan Supercomputer Is the Fastest in the World

Illustration for article titled Americas Titan Supercomputer Is the Fastest in the World

Cray's Titan supercomputer has snatched the title of world's fastest from the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sequoia—and it's cray fast, as you might expect.

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Powered by a mixture of CPUs and GPUs, Titan is home to 18,688 nodes, each of which contains an AMD 16-core Opteron and a NVIDIA Tesla K20X GPU accelerator. All told, that's a whopping 560,640 processors, which are capable of 17.59 quadrillion operations per second. For perspective, Sequoia snatched the top spot back in June with a mere 16.32 quadrillion.

And what the hell is all that computational crunching power used for? Well, Titan is housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where it's used to perform calculations for materials research, nuclear energy research, and analysis of techniques which can make combustion engines more efficient. As well as dabbling in climate modeling. No biggy, then, obviously. [Top 500 via Forbes]

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Image by Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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DISCUSSION

I understand why using it to check techniques for combustion engines is nice, but wouldn't it be better to use it for something greener? I would like to see something like this help develop even better solar panels and other ways to gather electricity. Not necessarily for the environment, but only because combustion is starting to be a dead end.

Kind of like when you leave early from the end of a movie when you know what's going to happen pretty much and you're like "Sh*t, better leave before the rest of the crowd gets up."

Is that a good analogy?