10 Major Players in Supercomputers


Jülich Supercomputing Center (Germany)

When it comes to supercomputing, Jülich Supercomputing Center operates on the same “no job is too big or too small” principle as every handyman in the phone book. In June 2012, the center made the Top500 list at No. 8 with JuQueen, its 1.38-petaflop IBM Blue Gene/Q (you’ll be seeing a lot of Blue Gene supercomputing systems on this list). It complements JuGene, a Blue Gene/P (it received an upgrade in 2009 to make it Europe’s first petaflop computer), and JuRopa, a Sun-based system.

With all that power, Jülich has become a computational and research simulation hub for many fascinating disciplines: quantum systems, climate science, plasma physics, biology, molecular systems, and mathematical modeling and algorithms.

Call it a stereotype, but the Germans are efficiency nuts. They -- like the Chinese -- have begun incorporating graphical processing units (GPUs) into their systems to achieve higher computational speeds using less energy. The goal is to eventually cross that magical exascale line (see sidebar). The future of supercomputing may not be as far out there as we think.