NEC retakes supercomputer title

In the international rivalry to create the fastest, most powerful supercomputer, Japan struck back at the United States.

NEC Computers Inc.'s latest machine, built to help the United Kingdom's meteorological office simulate environmental situations, has become the world's most powerful computer.

Last month, an IBM Corp. Blue Gene/L supercomputer running the Linpack benchmark achieved processing speeds of 36.01 teraflops, breaking the 3-year-old record of 35.86 teraflops set by NEC's Earth Simulator in Japan. Blue Gene hit the milestone during internal testing at IBM's production facility in Rochester, Minn.

But NEC is back with the SX series model SX-8, the world's most powerful vector supercomputer with a peak processing performance of 65 teraflops. Using architecture similar to Earth Simulator, the new product combines enhanced CPU memory and I/O processing performance.

"It's intended for use in scientific and research fields, such as global environment research, including weather forecasting and environmental simulations, and automotive designs and collision analysis," said Kazuko Andersen, NEC spokesperson.

Features of the new supercomputer include:

Processing speeds of up to 65 teraflops.

A vector processor integrated into a single chip by applying CMOS technology with 90-nanometer copper interconnects and advanced LSI design technology.

A 25 percent reduction in space and 50 percent less power consumption compared to conventional models.

A software environment suitable for a large-scale, multinode system. The basic software, SUPER-UX, maintains upward compatibility with the existing SX series and achieves further scalability expansion because of enhanced I/O processing and MPI.

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