No. 3: Jaguar
No. 3: Jaguar

Once the fastest in the world at 1.75 quadrillion calculations per second, the U.S. Department of Energy's Jaguar supercomputer is now stuck in third place. But not for long.

The computer is in the process of getting an enormous upgrade. When several hundred AMD 12-core CPUs and 18,000 Nvidia graphics processors are installed, the DOE says Jaguar will be capable of 20 quadrillion calculations per second, which would make it twice as fast as the No. 1 K Computer. When the upgrade is finished early next year, the supercomputer will be appropriately renamed "Titan."

Built by Cray, Jaguar is located in the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It is used for research on climate change, alternative fuel technologies and atomic energy, among other projects. It's an open system, so approved private companies and academics are also allowed to use the machine.

Last updated November 14 2011: 9:09 AM ET
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Jaguar, the Department of Energy's supercomputer, is bigger, faster, and much louder that you'd expect.