There are system upgrades, and there are system upgrades.
The Cray XT3 supercomputer, or Jaguar, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently got the latter, now clocking in at a mind-blowing 54TFs (teraflops).
The upgrade involved replacing all 5,212 processors with Cray's latest dual-core processors, doubling the memory and adding additional interconnect cables to double the bisection bandwidth. The Jaguar now features more than 10,400 processing cores and 21TB of memory.
The largest computer in the Department of Energy's Office of Science, Jaguar is also the major computing resource for the DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment, or INCITE, program. Boeing, DreamWorks Animation, and General Atomics, all INCITE grant recipients, are doing their work at ORNL.
"The XT3 is a remarkable system for scientific calculations, and the upgrade of all system components maintains the balance of the machine while doubling the performance," said ORNL's Thomas Zacharia, associate laboratory director.
"It is probably the fifth-fastest machine" in the world, Zacharia told the Associated Press. "It is clearly the fastest open-science machine in the U.S. today."
The supercomputer was previously ranked No. 13 on the TOP500 list, which ranks and details the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world. The current list, updated last June, ranks the IBM BlueGene/L as the faster system, boasting a speed of 280.6 TFps running the Linpack benchmark.
Not on that list is the MDGrape-3 at Riken in Japan, which clocked in at 1 petaflop (one quadrillion calculations per second) last June. A special-purpose system built for molecular dynamic simulations, it didn't make the TOP500 because it can't run Linpack.
DOE's Leadership Computing Facility is on a path to exceed 100 teraflops by the end of this year and to reach a petaflop, or 1 quadrillion mathematical calculations per second, by 2009. The multiyear contract between Cray and the DOE will cost nearly $200 million, according to AP.