I bet you’re dying to know the know status of the world’s TOP500 supercomputers. Well, the 32nd edition has just been issued and there’s a bit of an upset: IBM’s 1.105 petaflop/s Roadrunner supercomputer, installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, has managed to maintain its top spot, narrowly fending off a challenge by a Cray XT5 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, affectionately nicknamed Jaguar, which was recently upgraded this year and expected to nudge out its competitor. That system, only the second to break the petaflop/s barrier, posted a top performance of 1.059 petaflop/s in running the Linpack benchmark application. One petaflop/s represents one quadrillion floating point operations per second.
Both of the systems, along with five other of the top supercomputers, reside at national laboratories operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Nine of the top 10 supercomputers are located in the United States, and the most powerful system outside of U.S. borders is the Chinese-built Dawning 5000A at the Shanghai Supercomputer Center. It is the largest system operating with Microsoft Windows HPC 2008.
Some other highlights from the November 2008 list:
* A total of 379 systems (75.8 percent) are now using Intel processors, virtually unchanged from six months ago (375 systems, 75 percent).
* Quad-core processor based systems have taken over the TOP500, deployed in 336 systems. Dual-core processors are used in 153 systems, and only four systems still use single core processors. IBM’s advanced Sony PlayStation 3 processor with nine cores is gaining steam—seven systems on the list have tapped that platform.
* HP took over the lead in systems with 209 systems (41.8 percent) over IBM with 188 systems (37.6 percent). IBM had 210 systems (42.0 percent) six months ago, compared to HP with 183 systems (36.6 percent).
* The United States remains the leading consumer of HPC systems, with 291 of the 500 systems (up from 257). Comparatively, Europe claims 151 systems, down from 184 and Asia remains unchanged at 47 systems.