Intel dominates Top 500 supercomputer ranking

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Mannheim (Germany) – The 29th list of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers was released today, showing dramatic performance increases throughout. Intel processors are installed in more than half of all supercomputers officially reported for the ranking.


Top 10 Supercomputers back in November 2006...


Governments, universities and research labs around the world continue to heavily invest into their supercomputing capacities. Especially when looking to the ten fastest systems, a supercomputer now needs to achieve a sustained performance of 57 TFlops to join this elite crowd – two years ago, it would have been enough for the #2 spot. In 2005, 16 TFlops translated into a #10 rank; today, it would be found at #50.

The DOE’s BlueGeene/L, installed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, kept its leading Top500 position with 280.6 TFlops. However, there are now two more systems that break the 100 TFlop barrier: The upgraded Cray XT4/XT3 system at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory was measured at 101.7 and Sandia’s Cray Red Storm at 101.4. The eight fastest supercomputers are installed in the U.S., while #9 and #10 are located in Europe (Spain and Germany).

289 systems of the published list are based on Intel processors and it was especially the Core-based Xeon 5100 (Woodcrest core) that helped Intel to penetrate the supercomputing market. In the past six months, the presence of Woodcrest in the Top 500 list grew from 31 to 205 systems. The highest performing Xeon 5100 system is NCSA’s Dell-based “Abe” computer with a total of 9600 processors and a performance of 62.7 TFlops.

AMD Opteron processor are used in a total of 105 supercomputers, down from 113 six months ago. The fastest AMD system is the Cray system listed at #2, using a total of 11,706 processors. 85 systems are using IBM Power processors, down from 93 six month ago.

At the very end of the list, it now takes a performance of 4.0 TFlops to make the list, up from 2.7 TFlops six months ago and  up from 1.2 TFlops two years ago. In 2005, a performance of 4.0 TFlops would have been sufficient to capture the #100 spot in the list.