X86 processors dominate supercomputer list

It's really something when eight of the top 10 supercomputers are fueled by x86 processors. That's the results of the latest list from TOP500.org, released at the Supercomputing Conference in Austin, Texas, recently.

Those eight sites, which built their supercomputers on AMD Opteron processors, are in order:

  • (1) Roadrunner, the Los Alamos server cluster, consisting of 129,600 Opteron dual-core 1.8GHz processors interconnected with InfiniBand.
  • (2) Jaguar, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory cluster, consisting of 150,152 Opteron x86_64 Quad Core 2300MHz processors, connected with SGI's proprietary XT4 Internal Interconnect.
  • (3) Pleiades for NASA/Ames Research Center/NAS, a 51,200 node Intel Xeon EM64T E54xx (Harpertown) 3000 MHz (12GFlops) cluster that uses an InfiniBand interconnect.
  • (6) Ranger at the University of Texas Advanced Computing Center, a 3,936 node, 62,976 core Opteron QC 2.3GHz cluster that is connected with InfiniBand.
  • (7) Franklin at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a cluster that consists of 38,642 Opteron cores, interconnected with Cray's XT4 proprietary XT4 Internal Interconnect.
  • (8) Another Jaguar cluster at Oak Ridge that uses Opteron x86_64 quad-core 2.1GHz (30,976 cores, interconnected with Cray's XT4 Internal Interconnect.
  • (9) Red Storm from Sandia National Laboratories, which consists of 38,208 cores of Opteron 2.4/2.2GHz dual/quad core processors, using Cray's XT3 Internal interconnect.
  • (10) The Dawning 5000A at the Shanghai Computer Center, which consists of 1,920 Opteron 1.9GHz processors, interconnected with InfiniBand.

Most of these sites use some form of Linux as their operating system – the installation that stands out is Shanghai Computer Center, which has adopted Microsoft Windows HPC 2008 as its operating system, making it the largest Windows HPC 2008 installation.

The other two sites are IBM BlueGene installations – one at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which consists of PowerPC processors, and the other at Argonne National Laboratory, which also uses PowerPC processors and a proprietary interconnect.

There were days when you could have expected for supercomputers to be built on proprietary processors rather than industry-standard commodity processors. Those days are apparently gone – at least as attested by the latest TOP500 results.

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