Upgrade catapults ETH supercomputer to third fastest in Europe

01 Jul 2009 | Network Updates

An upgrade carried out in the spring has catapulted the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), which is run by ETH Zürich, from 414th to 23rd place on the list of the world’s 500 fastest computers, published at the recent International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg.

US dominates, Germany challenges

The fastest computer in the world currently is Roadrunner at the Los Alamos National Laboratory of the US Energy Department. Second place went to Jaguar at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. This is where CSCS Director Thomas Schulthess, Professor of Computational Physics, worked before returning to Switzerland.

Apart from the US, only one other country made the Top 10, with the Jülich research centre in Germany boasting a new IBM system, Jugene, at third, and its new Bull/Sun computer Juropa at tenth.

The CSCS is the third fastest computer centre in Europe after Jülich and the Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur in Montpellier.

The Monte Rosa computer, manufactured by the American company Cray and operated at the Manno building in Ticino, is currently the fastest computer in Switzerland. Its peak performance is 141.5 Teraflops (141.5 trillion floating points per second). The CSCS’s previous best in the Top 500 fastest computers was 41st in June 1996.

The leap into the top 30 came on the back of an upgrade carried out in the spring, which was largely financed by federal funds from the economic stimulus package and ETH Zürich. Following a further upgrade, the CSCS is banking on another top position in the next rankings due to be published this autumn.

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