Indiana News

Purdue Super Computer Ranked First in the U.S.

6/18/2013

Indiana University dominated Purdue on the basketball court last season. When it comes to computer science, however, the Boilers not only top the Hoosiers, they are number one in the nation - again.  

For the third year in a row, Purdue University has built the fastest college-owned supercomputer in the nation.  The computer named Conte was developed in collaboration with HP, Intel and Mellanox and is the highest ranking campus supercomputer on the latest Top500.org list of international supercomputers.  Dr. Gerry McCartney, Purdue's Chief Information Officer, says the machine was named after Samuel Conte, who helped start the nation's first computer science program at Purdue in 1962. 

Purdue's latest supercomputer surpasses the nation's previous fastest university-owned machine, Carter, which was built in 2011 and is still in operation at Purdue.  Conte clocked in with a sustained, measured maximum speed of 943.38 teraflops and a peak performance of 1.342 petaflops.  In layman's terms, McCartney says that means Conte can process a problem 15,000 times faster than a typical desktop or laptop computer.  

Unlike Purdue, IU only builds super computers for the competition every six years or so.  This year, IU placed second in the nation among university-owned machines with it's Big Red II.  McCartney says while the media might make much of the in-state rivalry, the building of supercomputers is a friendly competition, as each school has different purposes for their respective machines.  He says the greater goal of advacing the work of the sciences trumps all rivalries.  

Purdue's Conte ranked 28th in the world in the overall rankings, its highest placement ever in the top 500.  IU's machine was ranked 46th.   Top500.org ranks supercomputers according to a standardized benchmarking test. The rankings include supercomputers owned by governments, corporations, research centers and universities.

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