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Roadrunner outraces supercomputer rivals

Jaguar vs. Roadrunner. It could be a new Saturday morning cartoon, or a Hollywood franchise to replace an Alien vs. Predator series that surely must have run its course by now.

But no. It is instead a shorthand for the two fastest supercomputers in the world, as reported in the latest Top500 listing, released Monday in conjunction with the SC08 conference in Austin, Texas.

First place went to Roadrunner, an IBM supercomputer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Its performance in the running Top500's Linpack benchmark application was 1.105 petaflops per second. This was a repeat performance--Roadrunner also finished at the top of the heap in June's report on the biannual rankings, when it became the first supercomputer to cross the petaflop barrier. (A petaflop is a measure of calculations per second, with "peta-" meaning one thousand trillion of them.)

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