It seems that Japan is again poised to take over the numero uno position in the supercomputing list once again. It was reported here that the MDGrape-3 supercomputer of RIKEN in Yokohama, managed to achieve a speed of one quadrillion floating-point operations per second - the first to reach petaFLOP speed. It is about three times faster than the current champ, the IBM-built Blue Gene/L. Blue Gene/L deposed the previous record holder from Japan, the Earth Simulator.
Supercomputers have applications in astrophysics, cryptography, nuclear physics and climate simulation, among others. For the comprehensive list of top supercomuters, go here.