The German Bavarian Academy of Science has contracted IBM to build one of world's fastest supercomputer. Nicknamed SuperMUC, the supercomputer will make up to 3 petaflops of computing power available to European researchers to study medicine, astrophysics and other scientific disciplines. The system will be housed in the Academy's Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in Garching, Germany, it will use 14,000 Intel Xeon processors and it will adopt IBM's Aquasar, a new cooling technology that promises to cut cooling electricity costs by 40 percent by using hot water to cool the processors.
The system is planned to be completed in 2012 and should rank near the top of the world's fastest supercomputers. Currently, China is home to world's most powerful supercomputer. The Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin achieves a performance level of 2.57 petaflops, followed by the Cray XT5 "Jaguar" system at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee, which achieves 1.75 petaflops. Supercomputers are poised to get even faster though, as both the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are building 20 petaflop systems.
Once built, the system should rank near the top of the twice-annually compiled Top500 list of world's most-powerful computers. In the most recent iteration of that list, the Chinese Tianhe-1A system benchmarked a performance of 2.67 petaflops (a petaflop is quadrillion floating-point calculations per second).
SuperMUC will have some new competition for this coveted top spot though: The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, both funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, are each building a 20 petaflop computer. Both are expected to be operational in 2012.