TOP500 Gets Dressed Up with New Blue Genes

By Michael Feldman

June 19, 2012

At 16 petaflops, Sequoia recaptures the number one spot for the US.

The 39th TOP500 list was released today at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany, with a new machine at the top. Sequoia, an IBM Blue Gene/Q machine, delivered a world record 16 petaflops on Linpack, knocking RIKEN’s 10-petaflop K Computer into second place. The Japanese K system had held the TOP500 title for a year.

Sequoia, which is housed at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, will provide the NNSA its most advanced simulation platform for maintaining the nuclear weapons stockpile of the US. In its spare time, it will also run unclassified codes for open science research.

The 96-rack Sequoia houses 1.6 million cores, another TOP500 record, and 1.6 petabytes of memory. Peak petaflops is a whopping 20.1 petaflops. The machine is one of six Blue Gene/Q systems of a petaflop or more deployed over the last six months.

Compared to the November 2011 list, when there was no turnover in the top 10, this time around, there are six brand new machines, plus one, Jaguar, that has benefitted from an upgrade to faster processors. Besides four new Blue Gene/Q’s (Sequoia, Mira, Fermi, and JuQUEEN), there is SuperMUC, an IBM iDataPlex cluster at Leibniz Rechenzentrum in Germany, and Curie, a Bull supercomputer installed at the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

The new top 10 looks like this:

  1. 16.3 petaflops, Sequoia, United States
  2. 10.5 petaflops, K computer, Japan
  3. 8.2 petaflops, Mira, United States
  4. 2.9 petaflops, SuperMUC, Germany
  5. 2.6 petaflops, Tianhe-1A, China
  6. 1.9 petaflops, Jaguar, United States
  7. 1.7 petaflops, Fermi, Italy
  8. 1.4 petaflops, JuQUEEN, Germany
  9. 1.4 petaflops, Curie, France
  10. 1.3 petaflops, Nebulae, China

Although the US has regained the TOP500 title — the first time it has been in the top spot since 2009 — just three of the top 10 are now based in the States, down from five machines, six months ago, continuing a trend that has resulted in more geographical parity. China, Japan, Germany, France and Italy all have supercomputers at the top of the list now.

Taking all 500 supercomputers into account, the US is still the dominant player with 252 systems, but that’s down from 263 six months ago. China, is in second place with 68 systems, but it too has lost ground, shedding six since November. Japan (35 systems), the UK (25 systems), France (22 systems) and Germany(20 systems) are the only other nations with more than 10 machines on the list.

With each passing year, the TOP500 becomes a more exclusive club. The least performant machine (the 500th system) is now over 60 teraflops, a Linpack mark that would have earned it the top spot in 2004. Turnover was about average, with the list shedding 170 systems.

Meanwhile, aggregate performance continues its upward climb and is now at 123.4 petaflops, nearly doubling that of the November list, when it totaled 74.2 petaflops. A sizeable chunk of added flops was contributed by new machines that came in at a petaflop or better. Overall, the petaflop club doubled its membership over the last six months, growing from 10 to 20 systems.

From a vendor perspective, IBM cleaned up. The company is responsible for nearly half of the machines on the list, with 213. The next most popular vendor is HP, with 138 systems. Cray (26), Appro (19), Bull (16), SGI (16), and Dell (12), round out top six computer makers. Everyone else is in single digits.

It’s even more skewed at the top, where IBM claims five of the top 10. As mentioned before, that’s mainly the result of the new Blue Gene/Q installations. No other vendor has more than a single system in this upper tier.

The only area where IBM didn’t dominate the field is in processor architecture. Here Intel is king, claiming a 78 percent share overall, split between its various Xeon generations. The latest E5 Xeons, despite being in production only three months, already claim a nine percent share.

GPUs and other accelerators are now installed in 58 systems, up from 39 six months ago. The vast majority of them (53) are using NVIDIA parts. AMD’s ATI GPUs and IBM’s PowerXCell 8i are installed on two systems, apiece, while Intel’s MIC coprocessor made its debut on the TOP500 in an experimental cluster with pre-production Knights Corner chips.

On the interconnect front, InfiniBand now reigns as the most popular technology, with 209 systems, finally beating out Ethernet, which is installed on 207 machines. The remaining 84 systems use a some flavor of non-standard interconnect (custom, proprietary, Cray, etc.). Although small in number, these specialized networks are installed in systems that represent more than half (55 percent) of the TOP500’s aggregate performance.

The next Linpack rankings in November should see many of these trends continue. The top of the list, as always, should be quite interesting, especially since at least three new double-digit petaflop machines, powered by the latest accelerators, are scheduled to make their appearance. The Stampede system at TACC, will be powered by Intel’s first Knights Corner coprocessor, while the Titan and Blue Waters supercomputers at ORNL and NCSA, respectively, will get the new NVIDIA Kepler parts. If these deployments go as planned, we could, once again, see some major realignments in the top 10.

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!

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

ExxonMobil, NCSA, Cray Scale Reservoir Simulation to 700,000+ Processors

February 17, 2017

In a scaling breakthrough for oil and gas discovery, ExxonMobil geoscientists report they have harnessed the power of 717,000 processors – the equivalent of 22,000 32-processor computers – to run complex oil and gas reservoir simulation models. Read more…

By Doug Black

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

O&G Companies Create Value with High Performance Remote Visualization

Today’s oil and gas (O&G) companies are striving to process datasets that have become not only tremendously large, but extremely complex. And the larger that data becomes, the harder it is to move and analyze it – particularly with a workforce that could be distributed between drilling sites, offshore rigs, and remote offices. Read more…

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Drug Developers Use Google Cloud HPC in the Fight Against ALS

February 16, 2017

Within the haystack of a lethal disease such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s Disease) there exists, somewhere, the needle that will pierce this therapy-resistant affliction. Read more…

By Doug Black

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Feb. 16, 2017)

February 16, 2017

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

Alexander Named Dep. Dir. of Brookhaven Computational Initiative

February 15, 2017

Francis Alexander, a physicist with extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research, has been named Deputy Director of the Computational Science Initiative at the U.S. Read more…

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Drug Developers Use Google Cloud HPC in the Fight Against ALS

February 16, 2017

Within the haystack of a lethal disease such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s Disease) there exists, somewhere, the needle that will pierce this therapy-resistant affliction. Read more…

By Doug Black

Azure Edges AWS in Linpack Benchmark Study

February 15, 2017

The “when will clouds be ready for HPC” question has ebbed and flowed for years. Read more…

By John Russell

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

Cray Posts Best-Ever Quarter, Visibility Still Limited

February 10, 2017

On its Wednesday earnings call, Cray announced the largest revenue quarter in the company’s history and the second-highest revenue year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

What Knights Landing Is Not

June 18, 2016

As we get ready to launch the newest member of the Intel Xeon Phi family, code named Knights Landing, it is natural that there be some questions and potentially some confusion. Read more…

By James Reinders, Intel

KNUPATH Hermosa-based Commercial Boards Expected in Q1 2017

December 15, 2016

Last June tech start-up KnuEdge emerged from stealth mode to begin spreading the word about its new processor and fabric technology that’s been roughly a decade in the making. Read more…

By John Russell

Intel and Trump Announce $7B for Fab 42 Targeting 7nm

February 8, 2017

In what may be an attempt by President Trump to reset his turbulent relationship with the high tech industry, he and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete Fab 42. Read more…

By John Russell

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