A Cray XT high-performance computing system at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be unveiled tomorrow as the world's fastest supercomputer for science.

The annual ranking of the world's top 500 computers (www.top500.org) will rate the computer, codenamed Jaguar, at 1.64 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations, or calculations) per second.

The Cray XT uses AMD quad-core Opteron 2.3GHz processors and boasts a staggering 182,000 processing cores. It has 362 terabytes of memory and an input/output bandwidth of 284GB per second.

Jaguar has 10GB/second connections to ESnet and Internet 2 networks and utilises Spider, a 10-petabyte Lustre-based shared file system, connects to every system in the ORNL computing complex.

Open source supercomputing?

Raymond L. Orbach, Undersecretary for Science, says, "We make this machine available to the entire scientific community through an open and transparent process that has resulted in spectacular scientific results ranging from the human brain to the global climate to the origins of the Universe."

In a matter of few days, Jaguar has already run scientific applications ranging from materials to combustion on the entire system, sustaining petaflop performance on multiple applications. Apparently, a calculation that once took months can now be done in minutes.

You can expect the usual 'robot overlord', SkyNet and HAL9000 quips to emerge in the mainstream media over the next couple of days, but at TechRadar we can't just get over the irony of the world's smartest computer being used by the Department of Energy of the world's most profligate nation...