However, while DOE's Sequoia now stands on top, the surprise may be that a powerful petaflop supercomputer is now merely enough to land you a spot behind the first 20.
Sequoia towers the new list with almost 1.6 million processing cores. With a peak performance of 20.1 petaflops, it has nearly twice the capability of second place K computer with 11.3 petaflops -- though it consumes significantly less power with 7.9 MWatts versus 12.7 MWatts. DOE Mira rounds out the top 3 and is a clone of Seqoia, albeit with half the processing cores, half the processing capacity and half the power consumption.
China's Tianhe-1, which shocked the supercomputing world in November 2010 with 4.7 pflops peak performance has already dropped to the number 5 spot on the list. DOE's Roadrunner was the world's first petaflop supercomputer and made its debut on the June 2008 list. In just four years, the industry was able increase the maximum performance by a factor of 15 and the sustained performance by 16. The increase on the bottom of the list climbed at a slower ratio: Back in June 2008, a supercomputer had to post a sustained performance of at least 9 teraflops to make the list. The latest edition required 60.8 TFlops.