coyoteroadrunner It's fairly common knowledge that the Coyote has had trouble catching the Road Runner.  Good old Wile E. has tried since 1948 and has yet to capture his elusive pray but unfortunately for the Road Runner, there's a new predator close on his tail.

For those who don't know, Top500.org is a project that was established in 1993 to assemble and maintain a list of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world.  They have been compiling a list twice a year since their inception with the help of high-performance computer experts, computational scientists, manufacturers, and the Internet community in general. 

Since November 2005, the Jaguar, housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been in the top ten and has since slowly been shooting for the top position.  But, by the June 2008 report, a new kid has hit the top of the charts and aims to hold onto that spot and not let anyone else catch him, especially the Jaguar.

The new kid on the block, is The RoadRunner.  Straight out of the cartoons, this behemoth beast is a marvel of computing power.  It was built by IBM and in June was the first system ever to break the peatflop/s Linpack barrier.  Since then, it has been slightly enlarged and has reached a peak 1.105 petaflop/s.  It is based on the IBM QS22 blades which are built with advanced versions of the processor that is in the Sony PlayStation 3.  All of the nodes are connected together with a commodity infiniBand network. 

The Jaguar is a XT5 system manufactured by Cray and is close behind RoadRunner at 1.059 petaflop/s and is expected to pass the RoadRunner in the near future.

We'll see if the Jaguar can do what Wile E. Coyote could not and get him some RoadRunner for lunch.  I'm not counting on it though...

-Joe