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Last 7 Days News : SU MO TU WE TH FR SA All News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Jaguar Claws its Way to Number One, Leaving Reconfigured Roadrunner Behind in Newest TOP500 List of Fastest Supercomputers


In its third run to knock the IBM supercomputer nicknamed "Roadrunner" off the top perch on the TOP500 list of supercomputers, the Cray XT5 supercomputer known as Jaguar finally claimed the top spot on the 34th edition of the closely watched list.

The newest version of the TOP500 list, which is issued twice yearly, was formally presented on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the SC09 Conference to be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

Jaguar, which is located at the Department of Energy?s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and was upgraded earlier this year, posted a 1.75 petaflop/s performance speed running the Linpack benchmark. Jaguar roared ahead with new processors bringing the theoretical peak capability to 2.3 petaflop/s and nearly a quarter of a million cores. One petaflop/s refers to one quadrillion calculations per second.

When the Roadrunner system at Los Alamos first appeared at the top of the June 2008 TOP500 list, it was the world?s first petaflop/s supercomputer. This time around, Roadrunner recorded a performance of 1.04 petaflops, dropping from 1.105 petaflop/s in June 2009 due to a repartitioning of the system. In both November 2008 and June 2009, Jaguar came close but couldn?t dislodge Roadrunner from the top slot.

Kraken, another upgraded Cray XT5 system at the National Institute for Computational Sciences/University of Tennessee, claimed the No. 3 position with a performance of 832 teraflop/s (trillions of calculations per second).

At No. 4 is the most powerful system outside the U.S. -- an IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer located at the Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) in Germany. It achieved 825.5 teraflop/s on the Linpack benchmark and was No. 3 in June 2009.

Rounding out the top 5 positions is the new Tianhe-1 (meaning River in Sky) system installed at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin, China and to be used to address research problems in petroleum exploration and the simulation of large aircraft designs. The highest ranked Chinese system ever, Tianhe-1 is a hybrid design with Intel Xeon processors and AMD GPUs used as accelerators. Each node consists of two AMD GPUs attached to two Intel Xeon processors.

The only other new system in the top 10 is a Sun Microsystems Blade system at No. 10 and installed at Sandia National Laboratories. Called "Red Sky," the new Sun Blade system posted a Linpack performance of 423 teraflop/s.

Here are some other highlights from the latest list showing changes from the June 2009 edition:

- The entry level to the list moved up to the 20 teraflop/s mark on the Linpack benchmark from 17.1 teraflop/s six months ago. The last system on the newest list would have been listed at position 336 in the previous TOP500 just six months ago.

- Quad-core processor based systems have taken over the TOP500 quite rapidly. Already 427 systems are using them, with 59 systems using dual-core processors and only four systems still use single core processors. Six systems use IBMs advanced Sony PlayStation 3 processor with 9 cores and two systems at Cray are using the new six-core Istanbul AMD Opteron processors.

- A total of 402 systems (80.4 percent) are now using Intel processors. This is slightly up from six months ago (399 systems, 79.8 percent). Intel continues to provide the processors for the largest share of TOP500 systems. The IBM Power processors are the second most common used processor family with 52 systems (10.4 percent), down from 55. They are followed by the AMD Opteron family with 42 systems (8.4 percent), down from 43.

- IBM and Hewlett-Packard continue to sell the bulk of systems at all performance levels of the TOP500. HP kept a narrow lead in systems with 210 systems (42 percent) over IBM with 186 systems (37.2 percent). HP had 212 systems (42.4 percent) six months ago, compared to IBM with 188 systems (37.6 percent). In the system category, Cray, SGI, and Dell follow with 3.8 percent, 3.8 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.

- IBM remains the clear leader in the TOP500 list in performance with 35.1 percent of installed total performance (down from 39.4 percent), compared to HP with 23.0 percent (down from 25.1 percent). In the performance category, the manufacturers with more than 5 percent are: Cray (15.9 percent of performance) and SGI (6.6 percent), each of which benefits from large systems in the TOP10.

- The U.S. is clearly the leading consumer of HPC systems with 277 of the 500 systems (down from 291). The European share (153 systems ? up from 145) is still substantially larger than the Asian share (50 systems ?up from 49). In Europe, UK remains the No. 1 with 45 systems (44 six months ago). Germany and France share the No. 2 spot with 2 systems 27 systems each. Dominant countries in Asia are China with 21 systems (unchanged), Japan with 16 systems (up from 15), and India with 3 systems (down from 6).

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, Knoxville.



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