IBM Stays Atop TOP500 By Sitting Tight

By Michael Feldman

June 23, 2009

A rare event occurred in the TOP500 saga today at the International Supercomputing Conference. The top two systems from six months ago, IBM’s Roadrunner at Los Alamos National Lab and Cray’s Jaguar at Oak Ridge National Lab, didn’t budge at all. The number 1 and 2 supers have the same performance rating they had six month ago and remain the only petaflop supercomputers in the world — Linpack-wise.

Most HPC watchers, including me, thought Oak Ridge would have finally run the Linpack benchmark on both Jaguar subsystems and turned in the expected 1.2 petaflop result to knock IBM off its TOP500 perch. The official story is that the Oak Ridge boys didn’t want to take up days of valuable computer time running a vanity benchmark, instead of running real science codes with the machines. I’ve got to believe that this is essentially true. These days most of the big labs and established supercomputing centers — the only organizations that can afford such systems — don’t need any extra prestige from a TOP500 ranking and are more interested in running useful applications. If it had been any vendor but Cray though, I would have expected some arm-twisting and/or incentives to get Oak Ridge to run the benchmark.

There was some shuffling in the top 10 systems, although only four are new to the top spots. And of these, only two are brand new machines: Dawn, a 416 teraflop Blue Gene/P machine for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (and the precursor to the future 20 petaflop Sequoia system) debuts on the list at number nine; and JuRoPA, a 275 teraflop Bull/Sun hybrid cluster installed at Jülich Supercomputing Center, takes the 10 slot. JUGENE, a Blue Gene/P super, also at the Jülich Supercomputing Center was boosted to 825 teraflops to move into the number three slot behind Roadrunner and Jaguar, while Kraken, the upgraded Cray XT5 for the National Institute for Computational Sciences/University of Tennessee, comes in at number six with 463 teraflops.

As usual the top of the list was dominated by IBM and Cray. IBM claimed five of the top 10 systems and 17 of the top 50. Trailing Big Blue in eliteness, Cray placed two in the top 10 and 10 in the top 50. Overall though, IBM dominated the list, representing close to 40 percent of the aggregate processing performance on the TOP500, although HP has more total systems (212) than IBM (188). HP managed to accomplish this without having any systems in the top 10 and just four in the top 50.

As usual, most of the turnover took place in the bottom half of the list. The 500th system of the current list would have come in at number 274 in November 2008. That’s not quite the turnover the list displayed last year, but it’s about average historically. More importantly, for a year in which the global economy took a huge dive, these results make the supercomputing business look pretty resilient.

From a geographical point of view, only systems installed in the US and Germany made the top 10, with the US claiming 8 of those spots. As we look at the top 50 though, we get much more of an international flavor — China, India, Saudi Arabia, Canada, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, France, Finland, Italy, Russia, and Sweden all claiming at least one system. As true in the past, the US continues to dominate the list, with 291 systems. Europe owns 145 systems and Asia has 49.

Other interesting data points (with values for one year ago in parentheses):

  • Aggregate for 500 systems: 22.6 petaflops (11.7 petaflops).
  • Aggregate for top 10 systems: 6.0 petaflops (3.2 petaflops).
  • Number of InfiniBand-based systems: 151 (121).
  • Number of Gigabit Ethernet-based systems: 282 (283).
  • Intel processor-based systems: 79.8 percent (74.8 percent).
  • AMD processor-based systems: 8.60 percent (11.2 percent).
  • Number of vector processor-based systems: 1 (2).

Overall, the general trend of the list continues to point to the first exaflop system by 2020. Although plenty of the HPC digerati have doubts about this timeline, ISC keynoter Andy Bechtolsheim focused his Tuesday morning talk on just this subject. Ever the optimist, Bechtolsheim pointed out that Moore’s Law, with a lot of help from multi-chip module (MCM) design, optical on-chip interconnects, and in-socket water cooling, should provide the technology required for an exaflop machine in 2020. According to Bechtolsheim, an 8nm process technology can be used to construct 10 teraflop processors, with 100,000 of them yielding an exaflop. The power required to run such a system? A mere 50 MW, he says. Hopefully, Bechtolsheim is right and gets invited back to ISC’20 to map out the path to zettaflop.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Adolfy Hoisie to Lead Brookhaven’s Computing for National Security Effort

September 21, 2017

Brookhaven National Laboratory announced today that Adolfy Hoisie will chair its newly formed Computing for National Security department, which is part of Brookhaven’s new Computational Science Initiative (CSI). Read more…

By John Russell

PNNL’s Center for Advanced Tech Evaluation Seeks Wider HPC Community Ties

September 21, 2017

Two years ago the Department of Energy established the Center for Advanced Technology Evaluation (CENATE) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). CENATE’s ambitious mission was to be a proving ground for near- Read more…

By John Russell

Exascale Computing Project Names Doug Kothe as Director

September 20, 2017

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has named Doug Kothe as its new director effective October 1. He replaces Paul Messina, who is stepping down after two years to return to Argonne National L Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Prepares Customers for Success with the HPC Software Portfolio

High performance computing (HPC) software is key to harnessing the full power of HPC environments. Development and management tools enable IT departments to streamline installation and maintenance of their systems as well as create, optimize, and run their HPC applications. Read more…

Takeaways from the Milwaukee HPC User Forum

September 19, 2017

Milwaukee’s elegant Pfister Hotel hosted approximately 100 attendees for the 66th HPC User Forum (September 5-7, 2017). In the original home city of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Harley Davidson motorcycles the agenda addresse Read more…

By Merle Giles

PNNL’s Center for Advanced Tech Evaluation Seeks Wider HPC Community Ties

September 21, 2017

Two years ago the Department of Energy established the Center for Advanced Technology Evaluation (CENATE) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). CENAT Read more…

By John Russell

Exascale Computing Project Names Doug Kothe as Director

September 20, 2017

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has named Doug Kothe as its new director effective October 1. He replaces Paul Messina, who is s Read more…

Takeaways from the Milwaukee HPC User Forum

September 19, 2017

Milwaukee’s elegant Pfister Hotel hosted approximately 100 attendees for the 66th HPC User Forum (September 5-7, 2017). In the original home city of Pabst Blu Read more…

By Merle Giles

Kathy Yelick Charts the Promise and Progress of Exascale Science

September 15, 2017

On Friday, Sept. 8, Kathy Yelick of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, delivered the keynote address on “Breakt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DARPA Pledges Another $300 Million for Post-Moore’s Readiness

September 14, 2017

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a giant funding effort to ensure the United States can sustain the pace of electronic innovation vital to both a flourishing economy and a secure military. Under the banner of the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI), some $500-$800 million will be invested in post-Moore’s Law technologies. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Breaks Ground for Complex Quantum Chemistry

September 14, 2017

IBM has reported the use of a novel algorithm to simulate BeH2 (beryllium-hydride) on a quantum computer. This is the largest molecule so far simulated on a quantum computer. The technique, which used six qubits of a seven-qubit system, is an important step forward and may suggest an approach to simulating ever larger molecules. Read more…

By John Russell

Cubes, Culture, and a New Challenge: Trish Damkroger Talks about Life at Intel—and Why HPC Matters More Than Ever

September 13, 2017

Trish Damkroger wasn’t looking to change jobs when she attended SC15 in Austin, Texas. Capping a 15-year career within Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories, she was acting Associate Director for Computation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Her mission was to equip the lab’s scientists and research partners with resources that would advance their cutting-edge work... Read more…

By Jan Rowell

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

Top500 Results: Latest List Trends and What’s in Store

June 19, 2017

Greetings from Frankfurt and the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference where the latest Top500 list has just been revealed. Although there were no major Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

IBM Clears Path to 5nm with Silicon Nanosheets

June 5, 2017

Two years since announcing the industry’s first 7nm node test chip, IBM and its research alliance partners GlobalFoundries and Samsung have developed a proces Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This