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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers are located in Tennessee, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who ranks the 500 most powerful supercomputers said Tuesday.

 Dr. Jack Dongarra said computers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory rank 30th and 278th in processing power.

 Dongarra, a UT-ORNL Distinguished Scientist, said the world’s most powerful machine is at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M. Its power is rated by its ability to process 1.3 trillion calculations, known as “floating point operations,” per second, he said.

 That’s about 10 times more powerful than the 30th ranked machine at ORNL, he said.

 Dongarra started the biannual rating of the world’s fastest computers in June 1993 with Hans Meuer and Erich Strohmeir at the University of Mannheim, Germany.

 He said the processing power of top supercomputers has doubled every year and a half since the rankings began. Half of the top ranked computers drop off the list within six months and are replaced by newer, faster models, he said.

 Dongarra said the increasingly powerful computers are enabling scientist to better understand a wide range of problems that could not have been solved only a few years ago.

 “The advances in supercomputers have helped us understand things on a very large scale such as how stars and galaxies are created, down to microscopic particle reactions and high-energy physics,” Dongarra said.

 Dongarra said scientists are also better able to predict effects of car crashes, storms and other events.

 “We can do a much better job now of predicting the impact of a hurricane on a certain region or the damage of a car crashing into a wall than we could a few years ago,” Dongarra said. “That has come about as the result of these high performance computers.”


 Contact: Dr. Jack Dongarra (423-974-8295)