The most powerful supercomputer for general scientific studies in the United States—called the Cray XT3 and housed at Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory—got a major performance boost that has more than doubled its former peak level of 25 trillion calculations per second, or teraflops, the Associated Press reports via the New York Post.
The Cray XT3, or “Jaguar,” can now perform tasks at a speed of 54 teraflops, the AP reports.
Thomas Zacharia, the Tennessee lab’s associate director, said, “It is probably the fifth-fastest machine” on Earth, according to the AP.
A list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers compiled by researchers at the University of Mannheim, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee formerly ranked Jaguar as the 13th most powerful, the AP reports.
The performance boost is one part of a $200 million contract between Cray and the U.S. Department of Energy to upgrade Jaguar so it can perform 1,000 trillion calculations per second by the year 2009, according to the AP.
As part of the recent enhancements, all of Jaguar’s roughly 5,200 microprocessors were replaced with Cray’s most recently released processors, its memory was doubled, and additional bandwidth cables were installed, the AP reports.
Zacharia said that due to high-speed connections to networks in Chicago and Atlanta, “people from all around the country can access this machine,” according to the AP.
Jaguar is expected to be upgraded to roughly 100 teraflops in November, and in the following fall, engineers plan to install additional processors so it can reach performance speeds of 250 teraflops, the AP reports.
In late 2008, scientists plan to replace Jaguar with another supercomputer currently named “Baker” that could perform at a rate of 1,000 teraflops, making it three times faster than any other computer on the planet, according to the AP.
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