Story last updated at 2:21 p.m. on Friday, June 21, 2002

photo: business


'Cheetah' eighth fastest computer

by Paul Parson
Oak Ridger staff

At a speed of 2.3 teraflops, or 2.3 trillion calculations per second, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's "Cheetah" is the eighth fastest supercomputer in the world.

ORNL's ranking is on the 2002 list of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers. Officially released Thursday, the list was compiled by researchers at the University of Tennessee and the University of Mannheim in Germany.

"Oak Ridge is among the leaders," said Thomas Zacharia, the lab's associate director for computing. "I hope we will continue to push forward."

The No. 1 machine on the list is Japan's NEC Earth Simulator. It runs about 15 times faster than ORNL's computer, which is officially known as the IBM Power4.

The Cheetah supercomputer has recently been used to run a new climate simulation model developed by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and ORNL that basically doubles the detail of previous models.

"That's very significant," said Mike Farrell, director of ORNL's Center for Global Environmental Studies.

As for the future, lab officials said they will continue working toward the Cheetah's theoretical top speed of 4.5 teraflops. ORNL's supercomputer goal is to reach more than 100 teraflops by about 2006.

To view the complete list of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers, go to

Paul Parson can be contacted at (865) 220-5533 or

Oak Ridger Home
All Contents ©Copyright The Oak Ridger