'Titan' named world's new 'most powerful supercomputer'
A supercomputer named Titan has been touted to be the world's most powerful computer, over claims that it uses microchips more usually used for videogaming to crunch numbers for climate studies, models of advanced materials and alternatives to petrol.
The machine, built by Cray at the US government's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has seized the top spot in the Top500, a closely-watched global league of the fastest supercomputers.
The 'Titan' is 10 times more powerful than the lab's last supercomputer, Jaguar, which led the world as recently as 2009, The Telegraph reports.
According to the paper, Titan was measured at 17.59 petaflops (17.59 thousand trillion calculations per second), beating the previous record of 16.32 petaflops, held by Sequoia, a supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which simulates nuclear attacks.
The new champion contains almost 19,000 processing nodes and 710 terabytes of memory. As well as a 16-core AMD CPU, each node contains an Nvidia GPU accelerator, a specially-adapted version of processor technology originally developed for the video gaming market, the paper said.
Supercomputers are increasingly incorporating GPUs, which consume less power for more processing power compared to CPUs because their "parallel" architecture allows them to perform many calculations at once.
In the Titan system, the CPUs guide and maintain control of the overall model, while the GPUs doe the "heavy lifting", the paper added.