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U.S. unveils new supercomputer

Oct. 29, 2012 at 4:10 PM

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Graphic processing units first created for computer gaming have been used to create one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, U.S. officials say.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory says its Titan supercomputer is capable of churning through more than 20,000 trillion calculations each second and will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, climate change, efficient engines, materials and other disciplines.

Titan will be 10 times more powerful than the laboratory's previous world-leading Jaguar system, a Department of Energy release said Monday.

The system contains 18,688 nodes, each combining a 16-core AMD Opteron 6274 processor and an NVIDIA Tesla K20 graphics processing unit, or GPU.

The combination will allow Titan to occupy the same space as its Jaguar predecessor while using only marginally more electricity, researchers said.

"One challenge in supercomputers today is power consumption," said Jeff Nichols, associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences. "Combining GPUs and CPUs in a single system requires less power than CPUs alone and is a responsible move toward lowering our carbon footprint."

Titan will be able to simulate from one to five years of a process in a day of computing time, up from the three months or so that Jaguar was able to churn through in a day, researcher said.

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