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The Top500 Supercomputer List Released
« on: 18. June 2008., 18:46:12 »

The 31st Top500 supercomputer list was released today at Dresden, Germany, and it brings good news, both for some of the companies involved and for the environmentalists. The dominance is held by IBM, with 210 systems out of 500, as well as 5 of the top 10. The second company on the list is Hewlett-Packard, which has 183 of the fastest computers, the higher ranked being the No. 8 EKA, housed at Computational Research Laboratories' data center in Pune, India. On the environmental side, the Roadrunner is both the fastest and the most energy-efficient supercomputer in the world at the moment.

As we've been expecting, Roadrunner, the IBM supercomputer that broke the petaflop barrier this month (it was built at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory and it's the first system to reach 1.026 petaflops), is ranked No 1, followed by another IBM system, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's BlueGene/L, delivering a max processing speed of 478.2 teraflops (this supercomputer was ranked No 1 last year, when it managed to reach 208.6 teraflops).

A rather funny aspect of the situation is the fact that the fastest supercomputer in the world – US' nuclear weapon stockpile is monitored by it – is based, in fact, on a PlayStation 3 engine. Roadrunner uses the IBM QS22 blades, built on an advanced version of the Cell processor in Sony's PS3. The IBM System is the first hybrid supercomputer, as it also uses x86 chips from Advanced Micro Devices. Overall, the Roadrunner counts up 278 server racks the size of a refrigerator and also connects 6,562 dual-core AMD Opteron and 12,240 Cell chips.

Next on the top list are Sun Microsystem's Ranger at No. 4, Cray's Jaguar at No. 5, SGI's Encanto at No. 7, and SGI's Altix at No. 10.

Intel rules on the high-end processor market with 75 percent of all ranked systems and 90 percent of the quad-core based systems on the list.

The fastest machines in the world face challenges as forecasting the climate of the globe for the following decades, or discovering underground oil reservoirs. Yet, the supercomputing area is in rapid change. The researchers who compiled it stated that the list had the highest turnover compared to the previous one.

The list is compiled using the Linpack measurement, which ranks each supercomputer by having it solve a dense system of linear equations. According to the Top500, the Linpack is mainly a means of testing the performance of several systems on a similar problem, but it does not show their complete performance capabilities. During the past several years, the need of a more elaborate benchmarking system has been under discussion.

The June 2008 Top500 list presents some other interesting statistics too:
- over half of the systems use quad-core processors
- 208 systems contain between 2,049 and 4,096 processors. Only half of them were on the list six months ago
- the U.S. Department of Energy labs houses four of the top five systems (Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5)
- half of the computers are located in the U.S., which means 257 of the most powerful computers. On the same list, U.K. is next with 53, followed by Germany with 46, France with 34, Japan with 22, and China with 12.

Another statistic says that the superfast computers are used mainly in financial applications (15.2%), research (10%), geophysics (9.8%), information service (6.2%) and service (5.2%).

News Source: SoftPedia

Samker's Computer Forum -

The Top500 Supercomputer List Released
« on: 18. June 2008., 18:46:12 »


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