November 2009 was the last time a United States supercomputer sat on top of the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers, and thanks to Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system residing at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the U.S. is back out in front of the pack after it achieved 16.32 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark. Over a million and a half cores (1,572,864, to be exact) comprise Sequoia, which TOP500 describes as one of the most energy efficient systems on the list.
TOP500 released the new list today at the 2012 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany. It's the 39th edition of the bi-annual list, which shows the U.S. claiming three of the top 10 spots. Mira, another system with IBM BlueGene/Q DNA, sits in third place, while Jaguar, a Cray XK6 system, resides at No. 6.
Fujitsu's K computer out of Japan held the No. 1 spot on the previous two lists and is now in second place with a 10.51 Pflop/s score on the Linpack benchmark. The system is comprised of 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores.
The list represents a staggering amount of computer power, made even more impressive by how quickly the collective performance has grown. Pooled together, the list now represents 123.4 Pflop/s of performance, up from 74.2 Pflop/s back in November 2011.