NICS Kraken awakes to one petaflop

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NICS Kraken awakes to one petaflop

Passes a quadrillion floating point operations per second.

The US National Institute for Computational Sciences has just upgraded its Cray XT5 supercomputer, known as Kraken.

The machine has become the first academic system to surpass a quadrillion floating point operations per second, or one petaflop. The upgrade also puts the Kraken among the top five supercomputers in the world.

Kraken came online on 5 October with a peak performance of 1.03 petaflops. It features more than 16,000 six-core 2.6GHz AMD Istanbul processors with nearly 100,000 compute cores.

It also now has 129TB of memory, which doubles the size of Kraken for researchers running some of the world's most sophisticated 3D scientific computing applications.

The scientists who built the beast hope that it will enable academic users to explore previously inaccessible problems, including the mechanism behind the explosion of core-collapse supernovas.

Kraken is linked to the National Science Foundation-supported Teragrid, a network of supercomputers across the US that has become the world's largest computational platform for open scientific research.

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