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Sequoia supercomputer breaks simulation speed record, 41 times over


While we've seen supercomputers break records before, rarely have we seen the barrier smashed quite so thoroughly as by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Sequoia supercomputer. Researchers at both LLNL and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have used planet-scale calculations on the Blue Gene/Q-based cluster to set an all-time simulation speed record of 504 billion events per second -- a staggering 41 times better than the 2009 record of 12.2 billion. The partnership also set a record for parallelism, too, by making the supercomputer's 1.97 million cores juggle 7.86 million tasks at once. If there's a catch to that blistering performance, it's not knowing if Sequoia reached its full potential. LLNL and RPI conducted their speed run during an integration phase, when Sequoia could be used for public experiments; now that it's running classified nuclear simulations, we can only guess at what's possible.

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