TOP500 List of World's Fastest Supercomputers Released

Reply Mon 21 Jun, 2004 11:18 am
23rd Edition of TOP500 List of World's Fastest Supercomputers Released: Japan's Earth Simulator Enters Third Year in Top Position
Jun 21, 2004, 00:07

MANNHEIM, Germany; KNOXVILLE, Tenn.; & BERKELEY, Calif. - In what has become a closely watched event in the world of high-performance computing, the 23rd edition of the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers was released today (June 23, 2004) at the International Supercomputer Conference in Heidelberg, Germany.

The new TOP500 list, as well as the former lists, can be found on the Web at http://www.top500.org/.

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), retains the No. 1 position. However, the other positions in the top 10 showed significant changes, including the first-ever Chinese entry in the top 10.

Here are the highlights from the newest Top 10:

A new No. 2 system: Thunder, an Intel Itanium2-based cluster system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California.

At No. 4 and No. 8 are the prototypes for the upcoming IBM BlueGene/L system. The prototypes are a joint development of LLNL and IBM and are currently at IBM's facility. The final system will be installed at LLNL and is expected to replace the Earth Simulator by June 2005, perhaps even by the end of 2004.

The No. 6 system is a new IBM p690 system with 1.9 GHz Power4+ processors. The first such system in the world, it is installed at the ECMWF in UK and brings Europe back into the top 10. It also reflects the fact that, for the first time in a long time, the UK has surpassed Germany as the European country with the most TOP500 systems - 36 to 34.

No. 7 is a second Japanese system built by Fujitsu and installed at RIKEN. It merits special attention as it is a heterogeneous cluster with nodes of different capabilities, which makes it more challenging to achieve good overall performance. It is the first such system that high in the TOP500.

No. 10 is the first Chinese system ever to enter the top 10. Assembled by a Chinese intergrator, Dawning, the computer is based on AMD's Opteron chip and Los Angeles-based Myricom's Myrinet interconnect network.

The performance of the No. 10-ranked system jumped to 8.06 teraflop/s, up from 6.6 Tflop/s in the last list. Achieving 8 Tflop/s is no longer enough to enter the top10. The Linux Networx-built, Opteron-based cluster at Los Alamos National Laboratory, with 8.05 Tflop/s, only reached No. 11.

The "SuperMac" at Virginia Tech, which made a very impressive debut six months ago, is off the latest list ‑ at least temporarily. VT is replacing hardware and the new hardware was not in place for the compiling of this TOP500 list.

General trends from the TOP 500:

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 No. 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.

Total accumulated performance, 813 Tflop/s, is approaching the level of a petaflop/s. This compares with a total of 528 Tflop/s six months ago.

The entry point for the top 100 moved from 1.142 Tflop/s to 1.922 Tflop/s.

Other trends of interest:

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).
There are 291 systems now labeled as clusters, up from 208 in November 2003. This makes clustered systems the most common architecture in the TOP500.

At present, IBM and Hewlett-Packard sell the bulk of systems at all performance levels of the TOP500. IBM became clear leader in this edition of the TOP500 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.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee.
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