Latest Supercomputer Top 500

Last week, the latest edition of the list of the 500 fastest supercomputers was released. Two recent developments make this list interesting.

  1. The arrival of multicore processors. Even though their presence is still modest on the current list, expect their share to rise. Intel is targeting 32 cores on a chip by 2010.
  2. Microsoft made its entry on the scene with Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, an enhanced Windows 2003 Enterprise Server version tweaked for High Performance Computing. The first (and so far the only) entry on the Top500 list is at the National Center for SuperComputing at the University of Illinois. It will be interesting to see how this number grows in the coming years. At the very least, it will give some indication of the headway Microsoft is making in the HPC market.

Some trivia:

The #1 spot is still held by IBM’s BlueGene/L supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. At over 280TFlops, this monster is faster than an IBM PC with 8087 co-processor by a factor of roughly one billion. That’s right: it’s as fast as 1,000,000,000 original IBM PC’s!

The first Top500 list was published in June 1993. It’s interesting to note that one dual processor machine based on Intel’s latest dual-core processors would, at 34.9GFlops, take the #2 spot on that original list. Today’s average desktop would make it into the top 100…

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