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As Blue Gene Cruises to No. 1 in Top500 List, IBM Reveals Plans for Commercial Version

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A prototype of IBM’s Blue Gene/L system — initially conceived for protein-folding applications — claimed the No. 1 spot in the most recent edition of the Top500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, released last week.

The Blue Gene/L beta system, co-developed by IBM and the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, reached record Linpack benchmark performance of 70.72 Tflop/s. The system blew away the Earth Simulator supercomputer, built by NEC and installed in 2002 at the Earth Simulator Center in Yokohama, Japan. The Earth Simulator posted aLinpack benchmark performance of 35.86 Tflop/s and held the No. 1 position for five consecutive editions of the Top500 listing. It now holds the No. 3 spot on the list.

The top-ranking Blue Gene/L system will be moved to LLNL in the first half of 2005 and is expected to reach 360 Tflop/s. This particular system is not intended for life-science research, but a similar system at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center will be dedicated “in part” to the original protein-folding goal. This machine, which currently holds the No. 15 spot on the list with 8.7 Tflop/s, is expected to hit the 100 Tflop/s mark by March 2005, IBM said.

Concurrent with the release of the biannual Top500 ranking, IBM announced the commercial availability of the Blue Gene technology. Called IBM eServer Blue Gene Solution, the system will deliver a peak performance of 5.7 Tflop/s, IBM said.

A total of 13 life science machines were among the world’s fastest computers this time around, with one new addition — Bayer CropScience, at No. 347 — since the last ranking, in June [BioInform 07-05-04].

The trend toward cluster computing continued in the latest version of the list, with a total of 294 systems out of the 500 labeled as clusters, up from 291 six months ago.

IBM remains the top manufacturer in the list with 43.2 percent of the total number of systems (216) and 49.3 percent of total installed performance (556.9 Tflop/s). HP is second with 34.6 percent of installed systems (173) and 21 percent of total performance (236.6 Tflop/s).

IBM is the leading manufacturer among life science supercomputers, with 10 out of 13 systems on the list.

Total combined performance of all 500 systems on the list has passed the petaflop mark for the first time. It is now 1.127 Pflop/s, compared to 813 Tflop/s six months ago.

The Top500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee.

The complete list is available at http://www.top500.org/.

— BT

 

Top 500 Supercomputer Manufacturer Ranking
Manufacturer
Rank Nov
2004
Rank June 2004
Change in Rank
Count* Nov 2004
Count* June 2004
Change in Count
IBM
1
1
216
224
-8
Hewlett-Packard
2
2
173
140
+33
SGI
3
3
20
21
-1
Dell
4
6
+2
14
13
+1
NEC
5
9
+4
12
11
+1
Linux Networx
6
8
+2
11
11
Self-made
7
7
10
13
-3
Cray Inc.
8
5
-3
9
13
-4
Hitachi
9
10
+1
6
6
Atipa Technology
10
15
+5
4
2
+2
Sun
11
4
-7
4
15
-11
Fujitsu
12
11
-1
3
4
-1
lenovo
13
12
-1
2
3
-1
Angstrom Microsystems
14
13
+1
2
2
Promicro
15
17
+2
2
2
California Digital Corporation
16
21
+5
1
1
Dawning
17
23
+6
1
2
-1
HPTi
18
25
+7
1
1
Intel
19
26
+7
1
1
T-platforms
20
1
1
Verari Systems
21
1
1
Visual Technology
22
31
+9
1
1
Bull SA
23
20
-3
1
0
+1
Exadron
24
24
1
1
IMSc-Netweb-Summation
25
1
0
+1
Advanced Computing/ Voltaire
26
19
-7
1
0
+1
Appro International
27
14
-7
1
1

*Number of installed systems on the Top 500 list of supercomputers

 

 

 

 

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