Saudi supercomputer in top ten list


Tech Talk

This the first time a supercomputer based in the Middle East has entered the top ten list of the most powerful computers.

The Shaheen II is based at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust) in Saudi Arabia.

The Cray XC40 computer is the seventh most powerful machine in the world, said the Top 500 organisation that monitors high-performance machines.

China’s Tianhe-2 retained its position at the top of the supercomputer list.

Shaheen II’s place on the list was revealed in the Top 500’s latest release of its biannual rankings.

The Shaheen (Peregrine Falcon) II has a peak number-crunching capacity of 5.536 petaflops making it, said the Top 500, “the highest-ranked Middle East system in the 22-year history of the list and the first to crack the Top 10”.

Kaust has spent about $80m (£51m) buying, installing and operating the Cray machine which is about 25 times more powerful than the machine it is replacing.

The machine uses 200,000 processors arranged in more than 6,000 nodes, has 17.6 petabytes of storage and 790 terabytes of main memory. By contrast, China’s Tianhe-2 has a peak processing ability of 33.86 petaflops spread across 16,000 nodes.


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