Clocking a performance of 16.32 petaflop/s, IBM's Blue Gene/Q-class supercomputer Sequoia has become the fastest supercomputer in the world according to the latest TOP500 rankings released today. Sequoia, owned by the Department of Energy and based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has relegated Fujitsu's K to second place.

Using LINPACK benchmarking, Sequoia was found to be approximately 55 percent faster than K, which achieved 10.51 petaflop/s to Sequoia's 16.32 petaflop/s (or 16,320,000,000,000,000 flop/s). Standing for floating point operations per second, flop/s are a more sophisticated measure of computer performance than instructions per second, representative of the scientific calculations such supercomputers are likely to perform.

Impressively, Sequoia is reportedly one of the most energy-efficient computers on the list, consuming 7.9 MW of power to K's 12.7 MW. This gives Sequoia an efficiency of approximately 2.07 teraflop/s/W to K's 0.83 teraflop/s/W. Lower power consumption is central to IBM's ongoing Blue Gene project.

The June 2012 top ten looks like this:

1. IBM: Sequoia (DOE Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - USA)
2. Fujitsu: K (RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science - Japan)
3. IBM: Mira (DOE/SC/Argonne National Laboratory - USA)
4. IBM: SuperMUC (Leibniz Rechenzentrum - Germany)
5. NUDT: Tianhe-1A (National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin - China)
6. Cray: Jaguar (DOE/SC/Oak Ridge National Laboratory - USA)
7. IBM: Fermi (CINECA - Italy)
8. IBM: JuQUEEN (Forschungszentrum Juelich - Germany)
9. Bull: Curie thin nodes (CEA/TGCC-GENCI - France)
10. Dawning: Nebulae (National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen - China)

Perhaps the most notable characteristic of the top ten is that IBM supercomputers make up half the list. This marks the first occasion a US computer has topped the list since November 2009.

Sequoia is used by the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration to help assess the USA's nuclear deterrent.

Source: TOP500