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Emerging Trends in Top500 Supercomputer List

By Salvatore Salamone
BlueGene once again finds itself on top.

Dec. 17, 2007 | The 30th edition of the Top500 list of the world's most powerful computers, released in November at the SC07 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis, further validated IBM's much vaunted Blue Gene system.

Topping the list again was the BlueGene/L System at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This system has held the top spot since November 2004. Its current Linpack benchmark performance is 478 teraflops, up from 280 teraflops just six months ago. In all, IBM placed four Blue Gene systems in the top 10. They are joined by Cray, with three entries in the top 10, HP with two, and SGI.

Cluster systems dominate the Top500 list, with 406 systems in the new ranking. Most life sciences organizations have shifted much or all of their research off monolithic mini-computers and onto clusters. Similarly, the use of standards-based, high-performance interconnection technology continues to grow.

Replacing proprietary solutions, Gigabit Ethernet is now the most common internal connection technology, in use by 270 of the systems. Multi-core processor-based systems are now the dominant chip architecture in the Top500 list. According to the list's organizers, "The most impressive growth showed the number of systems using the Intel Clovertown quad-core chips which grew in six months from 19 to 102 systems." Most of the remaining systems use dual-core processors.

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