Top500 Supercomputer list released

Chicago (IL) - The 23rd list of the world’s 500 most powerful computer systems was released Monday. Few changes happened in the top 10 - the remaining field shows a sharp increase in performance : Entry into the list now requires 624 Gflop/s, the top 100 mark moved up to almost 2 Tflop/s.

The Earth Simulator supercomputer, built by NEC and installed in 2002 at the Earth Simulator Center in Yokohama, Japan, with its Linpack benchmark performance of 35.86 Tflop/s ("teraflops" or trillions of calculations per second), kept its top position of the list.

New members of the top 10 systems are "Thunder" at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in second place, prototypes for the upcoming IBM BlueGene/L system for the LLNL in fourth and eighth, an IBM p690 system at the ECMWF in UK in sixth, as well as the first ever top 10 supercomputer in China in tenth place (AMD Opteron, 8.06 Tflop/s).

While the list saw the first ten systems moving closer together the remaining 490 computers revealed significant technology and performance changes. There are 291 systems now labeled as clusters, up from 208 in November 2003, making it the most common architecture the in the TOP500.

The number of systems exceeding the 1 Tflop/s mark on the Linpack benchmark jumped from 130 to 242 - almost half the list. The 500th system on the list, with 624 gigaflop/s, was listed at position 242 in the last TOP500 just six months ago. This marks a record turnover rate in the 11-year history of the TOP500. Also, the lowest-ranked system six months ago was 403.4 Gflop/s.

A total of 287 systems are now using Intel processors. Six months ago, there were 189 Intel-based systems on the list and one year ago only 119. The second most common processors are IBM Power processor (75 systems) ahead of HP’s PA-RISC processors (57) and AMD processors (34).

According to the authors of the list, IBM and Hewlett-Packard sell the bulk of systems at all performance levels of the TOP500 . IBM increased its lead in the list with 44.80 percent of the systems and 50.12 percent of installed performance. HP is second with 28 percent of the systems and 18.5 percent of total performance. No other manufacturer is able to capture more than 6 percent in any category.

A new geographical trend, which started during the last few years, is now emerging more clearly. The number of systems in Asian countries other than Japan is rising quite steadily. In this list Japan is listed with 34 systems and all other Asian countries accumulated an additional 55 systems. However, Europe is still ahead of Asia with 124 systems installed.

Total accumulated performance, 813 Tflop/s, up from 528 Tflop/s six months ago.

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