The latest list of most-powerful computers is a bit of same old, same old. But soon, it won't be so easy to get ahead on the Top500 list by plugging in special-purpose accelerator cards.
The Top500 list detailing the world's most powerful supercomputers is released twice each year. Here's a look at some trends up through the list released in June 2013.
The U.S. has overtaken Japan to become home of the world's most powerful supercomputer, as an IBM-based Sequoia system trounces the Japanese K Computer.
The machine, located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, bumps the IBM-based Sequoia system down a notch with its performance of 17.59 petaflops per second.
Cray XT5 supercomputer known as "Jaguar" finally bests IBM after three tries. The top 10, while still dominated by supercomputers housed in the U.S., had just one newcomer.
Tianhe-2, with 3.1 million processor cores and a lot of Chinese-build technology, is the new leader of the twice-yearly list of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers.
The system is powered by Nvidia GPUs and thought to be one of the two fastest supercomputers in the world. It's capable of making 20,000 trillion calculations each second.
The fastest got faster, as the K Computer topped its own record on the twice-yearly supercomputer speed test by scoring 10.51 quadrillion calculations per second.
The company's graphics chips are finding a foothold in neural networks, a biology-inspired form of computing that is moving from research to commercial tasks like Google's photo recognition.
The biannual Top500 Supercomputing list is out, and for the first time in seven years, Japan has built the world's fastest computer. K Computer displaces China's Tianhe-1A just six months after the Chinese machine took the crown.