IBM Dominates Fastest Supercomputers
Thu Jun 29, 7:50 PM ET
When it comes to the world's fastest supercomputers, IBM once again has claimed the top spot with its BlueGene/L System, according to the latest list on Top500.org, an organization that keeps tabs on these monster machines.
IBM's BlueGene/L, which has occupied the number-one position on Top500.org for a year and a half, is installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
BlueGene/L can handle a performance workload of some 280 teraflops (or trillions of calculations per second). In contrast, a general-purpose PC typically has a rating of only a few billion operations per second.
On the current chart of 500 supercomputers, IBM dominates, with nearly half of the list carrying its label. Hewlett-Packard remains unchallenged in second place with its name on 30.8 percent of all systems on the list.
AMD Moving Up
The list also revealed that Intel microprocessors are at the heart of 301 of the 500 systems, while AMD's Opteron processors are steadily moving up the charts. AMD now powers 81 systems on the elite list, compared to only 25 systems a year ago.
Another notable item on the list is NEC's Earth Simulator, which held the number-one spot in the past, but has descended to position 10 and will almost certainly move out of the top 10 by the time the list is next updated, which should happen this coming November.
Released Wednesday in Dresden, Germany at the International Supercomputing Conference, the list was compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The list has been compiled twice a year since June 1993.
Just as the World Cup has become a closely watched yearly event, the list of the fastest 500 supercomputers on the planet has become a highly anticipated spectacle, particularly among scientists and engineers who use the supercomputers.
Addison Snell, research director of high-performance computing at IDC, said it's not a surprise that IBM has captured the top spot once again, particularly because the company is specifically focused on high-end computers.
However, Snell added that the Top500.org list is only one among many measures of superfast computers and that such lists are ever-changing so that one company that dominates the list could fall off the next time around.
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