New entrants shake-up supercomputer list

The biannual list of the world’s fastest supercomputers has been announced, with IBM’s BlueGene/L System taking the top spot, though new entrants, including India’s first ever top ten listing, have shaken up the old order.

New entrants shake-up supercomputer list

BlueGene/L, a joint effort between IBM and the US National Nuclear Security Administration, recaptured the top spot from HP after a significant upgrade which boosted its speed from 280.6 teraFLOPs/sec to 478.2 teraFLOPS/sec – three times the speed of its nearest competitor.

The first Indian system to crack the top 10 came in at fourth. The system, a HP Cluster Platform, is installed at the Computational Research Laboratory in Pune, and features their own routing technology equating to 117.9 teraFLOPs/sec performance.

Multi-core processors were the leading chip architecture among the 500 listed supercomputers, with the biggest growth occurring among Intel’s Clovertown quad core chips, which jumped from 19 to 102 supercomputers in the past six months. Over 70% of the top 500 use Intel processors.

US dominates list

The US dominates the list, accounting for 284 of the 500 machines. The UK is the second rated country by number, with 48, followed by Germany’s 31. The UK’s top system came in at 17, and is based at the University of Edinburgh.

IBM is currently working on topping a petaFLOP supercomputer, which will able able to process 1,000 trillion calculations each second. It intends to deliver the machine, nicknamed “Roadrunner”, to the US Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory next summer.

Roadrunner is a hybrid which blends PC-style processors from AMD with the Cell Broadband Engine, the graphics processor used in the Sony Playstation 3.

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