Sidebar: The Linpack Benchmark

In order to compare the speeds at which supercomputers operate, they need to be performing the same tasks. The Linpack benchmark measures how fast a computer solves dense systems of linear equations and measures a system's floating-point computing power.

The benchmark is based on Linpack, a software library for performing numerical linear algebra on digital computers that was written in Fortran by computer scientists Jack Dongarra, Jim Bunch, Cleve Moler and Pete Stewart in the 1970s.

Dongarra, now a distinguished professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee, later introduced the Linpack benchmark, which is used as the performance measure for ranking supercomputers in the Top500 list of the world's fastest computers.

The march toward exascale computers
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