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Cray to upgrade fastest US supercomputer

Tue, 10/11/2011 - 1:05pm
The Associated Press

Supercomputer builder Cray Inc. on Tuesday said it will upgrade the Department of Energy's Jaguar computer so it can run nearly 10 times faster and challenge a Japanese computer to regain its standing as the world's fastest computer.

The Jaguar was the world's fastest computer when Cray built it in 2008 for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Today, it's the world's third-fastest computer, according to a list compiled by computer researchers.

Under the $97 million contract, Cray will swap out the Jaguar's more than 224,000 processors made by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and replace them with a combination of updated AMD processors and graphics chips from Nvidia Corp.

Graphics chips, which are designed to crunch numbers for 3-D environments, are finding increasing use in supercomputers.

Cray said the first phase of the upgrade will be completed this year. Additional Nvidia chips will be added next year.

The new computer will be called Titan.

Shares of Seattle-based Cray rose 16 cents, or 2.7 percent, to close Tuesday at $6.14 but then fell 7 cents after hours.

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