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IBM increases supercomputer dominance

It had six of the top 10 spots in the latest Top500 supercomputer ranking

By China Martens
June 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - IBM's supercomputers continue to be the fastest in the world, according to the latest Top500 list of the speediest machines released today. The company snagged six of the top 10 spots, including the coveted No. 1 and No. 2 placings, while widening the performance gap between its machines and those of its competitors.

The list was to be announced at the International Supercomputing Conference in Heidelberg, Germany.

For the second time in a row, IBM's Blue Gene/L System at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., is the fastest supercomputer in the world. The machine also held pole position on the previous Top500 list, issued last November. Blue Gene/L doubled its performance over the past six months to reach a new Linpack benchmark performance of 136.8 trillion floating point operations per second (TFLOPS), nearly double the 70.72 TFLOPS recorded on the November list.

According to Dave Turek, IBM vice president for Deep Computing, the company expects the system to again double in size over the summer to between 270 and 280 TFLOPS.

In the No. 2 position was another IBM Blue Gene offering, the Watson Blue Gene (WBG) system, which IBM installed at its Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, N.Y., last week. WBG had a benchmarked performance of 91.2 TFLOPS and is being used by IBM to conduct scientific and business research.

While Blue Gene's speed and performance have been important to its rapid adoption, the supercomputer's small form factor has also proved attractive to customers, according to Stacey Quandt, IT analyst at Quandt Analytics in Santa Clara, Calif. She also emphasized the continuing adoption of the Linux operating system -- eight of the top 10 supercomputers run on Linux -- along with an increase in the number of blade systems from IBM.

Silicon Graphics Inc.'s Columbia system at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffet Field, Calif., is in third position with 51.87 TFLOPS. In fourth position now is one-time leader NEC Corp.'s Earth Simulator in Yokohama, Japan, with a Linpack benchmark performance of 35.86 TFLOPS.

The fastest supercomputer in Europe, an IBM machine called the MareNostrum cluster at the Barcelona Supercomputer Center in Spain, nabbed the No. 5 spot with a performance of 27.91 TFLOPS. Just behind it was another Blue Gene owned by Astron and run at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, with a performance of 27.45 TFLOPS.

"The biggest surprise for us is the dominance of Blue Gene at the very top end of the list," said IBM's Turek. He also pointed to MareNostrum's success as

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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