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KNOXVILLE – Add one more top 10 finish to the list of accomplishments at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville: home to the world’s most powerful academic supercomputer.

Called Kraken, the computer has been named the world’s sixth fastest in the most recent edition of the Top500 list of the most powerful computers, announced today at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany.

The Top500 list, recognized as the global standard for comparing massive computers, is created every six months by UT Knoxville Distinguished Professor Jack Dongarra and his colleagues.

“The University of Tennessee is better now than it has ever been,” UT Acting President Jan Simek said. “Having the fastest university-managed supercomputer in the world allows UT to keep getting better, and Kraken is another tool that helps us attract the best students, the best researchers and the best professors, something every university strives for.”

Kraken, which ranked 15th on the previous edition of the list, published in November 2008, has nearly quadrupled its peak speed in the last six months, clocking in at a speed of 606 teraflops, or 606 trillion calculations per second.

The system, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and part of UT’s National Institute for Computational Science (NICS), is still on the move toward the petascale — 1,000 trillion calculations per second, and a major milestone in high- performance computing.

“Kraken’s leap into the top 10 represents another wave of success in our efforts to be a global leader in all aspects of supercomputing,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “In addition to Kraken’s speed and impact on the scientific community, the definitive list of the fastest computers is developed by one of our own faculty members.”

While speed is an interesting measure of a computer, at its core, Kraken is about research. As the most powerful supercomputer funded by the NSF TeraGrid — a network of supercomputers across the United States — Kraken is a vital part of one of the world’s largest computational platforms for open scientific research.

“We are pleased to be the largest resource provider in the NSF’s TeraGrid and we look forward to continuing to advance the NSF’s mission by supplying the scientific community with the best computing resources and environment possible,” said NICS Project Director Phil Andrews.

Kraken and NICS, both housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, stem from a NSF Track II award of $65 million to UT and its partners. NICS won the award in an open competition with leading computing institutions across the country.

Kraken joins another East Tennessee computer in the top 10, as ORNL’s Jaguar system retained its second-place overall position in the list.

The NSF award places NICS and UT among a select group of supercomputing facilities. As a result of the collaborative relationship between UT and ORNL, NICS promises to deliver state-of-the-art scientific research. NICS offers researchers a great opportunity to test code on a system that ultimately will move to the petascale. For more information, visit the NICS Web site at

C O N T A C T :

Jay Mayfield, (865-974-9409,