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IBM build world's most powerful computer

The US has taken the crown for the world's fastest supercomputer from Japan with its Sequoia.

Global IT firm IBM has been given the crown of creating the world's most powerful supercomputer, as its Sequoia trumps Japan's K Computer, which was created by Fujitsu.

This is the first time the US has held the crown in two years, after China stole the honour.

Sequoia's day-to-day function will be to create simulation that hopes to extend the life of nuclear weapons coming to the end of their functional life for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). This should prevent the need for underground tests to take place in the real world.

Japan's K Computer has the much less sinister task of mapping climate change and designing solar cells.

The Sequoia's theoretical peak performance is, however, nearly twice as fast as the K Computer. It contains close to 100,000 IBM Power BQC processors and more than 1.5 million cores and boasting 1.5 petabytes, the equivalent of around 1500TB. It consumes a whopping 7.9MW of power.

Surprisingly, however, the Sequoia is actually more efficient than the K Computer, which uses 12.6MQ.

Its theoretical peak performance stands at 20 petaflops, although it has only reached 16.32 petaflops at present. In comparison, the K Computer potential maximum is 11 petaflops, and it was benchmarked at ten.

To put the rate of growth in supercomputer, the fastest device in the world a year and a half ago could only perform at just under an eighth of the speed of the Sequoia, reaching 2.57 petaflops.

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

The US has three computers in the top ten list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. However, six months ago it boasted an outstanding five. China and Germany both have two of the devices and Japan, France and Italy each have one.

IBM has built five of the top ten, and David Turek, vice president of deep computing at the company, told the BBC that they had been intending to take the superlative spot two years ago.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801388063-ADNFCR