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IBM’s Sequoia supercomputer has taken the top spot on the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers for the US.

The newly installed system trumped Japan’s K Computer made by Fujitsu which fell to second place.

It is the first time the US can claim pole position since it was beaten by China two years ago.

Sequoia will be used to carry out simulations to help extend the life of aging nuclear weapons, avoiding the need for real-world underground tests.

It is installed at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

“While Sequoia may be the fastest, the underlying computing capabilities it provides give us increased confidence in the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” said National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administrator Thomas D’Agostino.

“Sequoia also represents continued American leadership in high performance computing.”

 

IBM's Sequoia supercomputer has taken the top spot on the list of the world's fastest supercomputers for the US

IBM's Sequoia supercomputer has taken the top spot on the list of the world's fastest supercomputers for the US

 

The computer is capable of calculating in one hour what otherwise would take 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years to complete if they worked non-stop.

Although the US’s efforts helped secure it the lead, its overall tally of three computers in the top 10 was worse than six months ago when it had five.

China and Germany both have two supercomputers, while Japan, France and Italy have one.

But IBM proved to be the leading manufacturer claiming five out of the top 10 spots.

David Turek, vice president of deep computing at the firm, said his company had been preparing to retake the top spot for two years.

“Substantial planning went into this. We knew the day would come.”

Sequoia is 1.55 times faster than the Fujitsu model, and uses over 1.5 million processors.

In comparison the Japanese model has less than half the number of CPUs (computer processing units).

The IBM supercomputer is also more energy efficient than the Fujitsu model.

Sequoia consumes 7.9 megawatts compared to the K computer which uses 12.6 megawatts.

David Turek described Sequoia as the “pinnacle of energy efficiency” and said the reaction had been “very enthusiastic.”


“Government laboratories in Europe have already expressed interest,” he said.

The list is published every six months by German Professor Hans Meuer and US-based Professor Jack Dongarra.

Prof. Jack Dongarra said it was unlikely that another manufacturer would overtake IBM in the next year.

“Sequoia is very impressive,” he said.

The first computer to take the top position on the list was the CM-5/1024 in 1993, designed by Thinking Machines.

According to Prof Dongarra, Sequoia is 273,930 times faster.

“A calculation that took three full days to compute on the Thinking Machines in 1993 today can be done in less than one second on the Sequoia,” he said.

 

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A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias – whose branches are the size of normal trees – dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California.

Gerrit Panzner, a German tourist, watched the two 250 feet trees fall to the ground at the Trail of 100 Giants in Sierra Nevada, California and captured the amazing moments and the crushing sound on video.

The trees lay the length of a football pitch and their diameter of their torn roots and base was 20 feet.

“It can’t be possible,” Gerrit Panzner, who watched the tree fall, told Catholic Online.

“That tree has been there thousands of years and then you realise the tree is falling and you had to run.”

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

Gerrit Panzner heard loud “crinkling” noises before they eventually fell – but nobody was injured. The trees are believed to have fallen over because they could simply not support their weight anymore.

The trees fell on the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sierra Nevada, which is a route accessible to wheelchairs that allows visitors to view more than 100 huge sequoia trees.

At this moment, Forest Service officials are deciding what to do with two of the world’s largest trees, as many conservationists have suggested they should be left alone.

This would mean the trail would have to be rerouted around them, which could cause problems for wheelchair users who would not be able to use steep alternative paths, reported NBC News.

Fallen trees can also be a habitat for wildlife and release nutrients back into the soil, reported the Los Angeles Times. The trees became a national monument 11 years ago.

Forest officials have even suggested building a bridge over the trees or cutting them up for firewood, reported NBC News.

Officials are set to make a decision on what to do by next summer, but until then are inviting the public to help them decide.

“It’s very, very rare for a giant Sequoia tree to die standing up unless it’s in a very, very severe fire,” a district ranger told Catholic Online.

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