IBM Dominates List of Top 500 Supercomputers

Big Blue has almost 50 percent of all systems on the list, followed by HP with more than 30 percent.

IBM continues to dominate the list of the fastest supercomputers in the world, with four of the top 10 computers on the list and almost half of the top 500.

In addition, x86 technology—mostly from Intel, but a growing number from rival Advanced Micro Devices—continues to gain share on the semiannual Top500 rankings, released June 28 at the International Supercomputing Conference, in Dresden, Germany.

The listing of the top 500 fastest supercomputers is a joint project of the University of Mannheim, in Germany; the University of Tennessee; and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centers Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., remained in the top position with the Blue Gene/L system installed at the Department of Energys Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in Livermore, Calif. The systems peak performance on a Linpack benchmark was 280.6 teraflops, or 280.6 trillion calculations per second. Because it so easily outdistances the rest of the field—no other supercomputer has exceeded 100 teraflops—organizers expect the system to remain at the top of the list for at least the next few editions.

/zimages/2/28571.gifIBM is working with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to create the fastest machine in an educational institution. Click here to read more.

IBM systems account for 48.6 percent of all the systems on the list, followed by Hewlett-Packard, which has a 30.8 percent presence. Sun Microsystems found its way back into the top 10 with a system ranked at seventh built on its Opteron-based servers at the GSIC Center at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The system was put together by NEC.

There are 24 of IBMs Blue Gene supercomputer models on the list.

The list organizers said that while overall turnover was relatively low at the bottom of the list, the competition at the top continued unabated, with three of the top 10 on the November 2005 list being replaced, and the Earth Simulator machine in Tokyo—built by NEC and which, at 35.86 teraflops, once sat atop the list five consecutive times before being replaced by IBM in November 2004—now is No. 10.

Intel processors—both Xeons and Itaniums—are in 301 of the systems. Intel rival AMD saw the number of systems running its Opteron chip grow from 25 a year ago to 81 now. IBMs Power processors are in 84 of the supercomputers on the list.

The smallest systems on the list were faster than 2.03 teraflops. In comparison, last year the minimum was 1.17 teraflops.

The use of cluster systems continues to grow, with 365 of the top 500 labeled as clusters.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.