Oak Ridge supercomputer fastest for open research

The Cray XT supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, is now the World's fastest unclassified supercomputer, boasting a peak performance of 1.64 petaflops and a sustained performance of 1.3 petaflops.

The only computer faster than the one at Oak Ridge is used for classified research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico.

Back in June, the $100 million Cray XT, nicknamed "Jaguar", was previously rated the fifth fastest in the World, until the Oak Ridge lab announced on Monday that they had completed an upgrade to the supercomputer, allowing it to achieve it's goal of 1 quadrillion calculations per second.

Just how fast is 1.64 petaflops? It is about 55,000 times faster than your average home computer and according to the Associated Press, if everyone in the World performed one mathematical calculation a second, it would take 650 years to achieve what the Cray XT can do in one day.

The computer is still going through final trials. However, it should be ready by January, when it will be used to research everything from climate change to unseen space matter.

Oak Ridge's associate director believes there will be a waiting list of proposals from scientists wanting to use the computer. He also expects the supercomputer to be running at near full-time operation when it begins work.

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