Tuesday, 17 November 2009

World's top 10 fastest supercomputers

There's a new numero uno in the World's fastest supercomputers ranking, reveals the bi-annual Top500 list. The Top500 supercomputers list is compiled by researchers at the University of Mannheim (Germany), Berkeley National Laboratory (US) and the University of Tennessee (US).

Just as in the last time's ranking, the Top500 list is made up mostly of Hewlett-Packard and IBM computers. HP accounted for 210 of this year's 500, and IBM 185. In terms of processors, Intel still enjoys the lion's share, with 80 percent. The most popular operating system continues to be Linux, with 90 percent share.

Here's over to the world's top 10 fastest supercomputers.

The world's fastest supercomputer is Cray XT5, also known as Jaguar. Jaguar bags the no. 1 spot, beating IBM's Roadrunner, who has been holding the top crown since past 18 months.

Jaguar recently upgraded its quad-core CPUs to hex-core Opteron processors, which meant a 2.3 petaflop per second theoretical performance peak (”nearly a quarter of a million cores”), and 1.75 petaflops measured by the Linpack benchmark. This surpasses Roadrunner's 1.04 petaflop/s. A petaflop/s refers to 1 quadrillion calculations per second.

Jaguar, located at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, came close to beating Roadrunner in the two previous Top500 lists. This time, however, Roadrunner's performance fell from 1.105 petaflop/s in June due to a repartitioning of the system.

IBM Roadrunner
At no. 2 is IBM Roadrunner, which was crowned No. 1 in June 2008 after becoming the first supercomputer to break one petaflop/s. IBM’s Roadrunner managed 1.042 petaflops. The supercomputer is located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Roadrunner which also used IBM's own chips plus AMD Opteron technology, actually decreased in performance to 1.042 petaflops due to a repartitioning of the system.

At no. 3 in the latest Top500 list is another upgraded Cray XT5 system, also known as Kraken. Located at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (University of Tennessee), Kraken supercomputer achieved a speed of 832 teraflop/s. A teraflop/s is a trillion calculions per second.

IBM BlueGene/P
The no. 4 position goes to IBM's BlueGene/P supercomputer located at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany. The BlueGene/P is the fastest computer outside United States. It achieved 825.5 teraflop/s. The system was No. 3 in the previous Top500 list.

At no. 5 is the new Tianhe-1 supercomputer. Tianhe-1, which means River in Sky, is located at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin, China. The system is used for research in petroleum exploration and simulation of large aircraft designs.

Tianhe-1 is the highest ranked Chinese system ever and is a hybrid design with Intel Xeon and AMD graphics processors used as accelerators. Each node consists of two AMD GPUs attached to two Intel Xeon chips.

At no. 6th is SGI Altix supercomputer known as Pleiades. The supercomputer is located at NASA's Ames Research Center (NAS).

The NAS division provides scientists and engineers with the supercomputing resources and simulation tools needed to carry out critical NASA missions and make new scientific discoveries.

IBM BlueGene/L
The seventh fastest supercomputer in the world is again from IBM, BlueGene/L. The supercomputer is located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Terascale Simulation Facility. BlueGene/L (BGL) clocked 478.2 trillion floating operations per second (teraFLOPS) on Linpack.

Built by IBM, BGL is a workhorse supercomputer used to make possible science simulation of unprecedented detail for NSA's tri-lab Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program. BGL had been used widely for materials science calculations such as assessing materials at extreme temperatures and pressures.

IBM BlueGene/P
The world's 8th fastest supercomputer too is an IBMian, IBM BlueGene/P. The supercomputer was installed in 2007 in US-based Argonne National Laboratory. Argonne has four major mission areas:

One, conducting basic experimental and theoretical scientific research in the physical, life and environmental sciences; two, operating national scientific facilities to help advance the United State's scientific leadership; three, enhancing the country's energy resources; And four, finding and developing better ways to manage environmental problems.

At no. 9 is Sun Microsystem's Ranger. The Ranger supercomputer belongs to Sun's Blade System family. The supercomputer is located at Texas Advanced Computing Center. Running on AMD x86_64 Opteron Quad Core 2300 MHz processor, Rangers main memory is a mammoth 125952 GB.

Red Sky
The only other new system among the top 10 supercomputers is at no. 10. Called Red Sky, the Sun Blade system reached 423 teraflop/s.

Sun Microsystems' blade system is located at the Sandia National Laboratories. The system's main memory is 22104 GB. Processor is Intel EM64T Xeon X55xx (Nehalem-EP) 2930 MHz (11.72 GFlops).