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Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Cluster Architecture Advance in Latest Top 500 Supercomputer List


IBM still tops the Top 500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers, but the latest edition of the twice-yearly ranking did offer one surprise: Hewlett-Packard surged to second place from its fifth place spot of six months ago.

The 18th edition of the list, released last week at the SC2001 conference in Denver, Colo., maintained IBM as the leader in the field, with 32 percent(160) of all installed systems and 37 percent of the total performance of all installed systems (50,868 Gflop/s).

However, IBM’s numbers did slip slightly from the 17th edition of the list released in June, in which it boasted 40 percent of the total systems (201).

Hewlett-Packard placed second with 30 percent of installed systems (153) and installed performance of 19,868 Gflop/s, displacing Sun Microsystems, which held 16 percent of the installed systems in June (81), but only 6 percent of the current installed systems (30).

SGI and Cray follow with 40 and 39 installed systems, respectively. In the category of installed performance, however, Cray stays in third place at 14,083 Gflop/s.

Additionally, Compaq broke into the Top 10 for the first time. While the most powerful Compaq system was only listed at position 43 six months ago, the company’s AlphaServer SC system at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center now holds the number two spot (4.1 Tflop/s), behind IBM’s ASCI White system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (7.2 Tflop/s). Another Compaq system at DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory holds the number six spot in the current list.

Although massively parallel systems still make up over 50 percent of the list with 254 systems, clusters of symmetrical multiprocessors (constellations) are gaining — increasing to 145 systems of the top 500 from 113 six months ago. In addition, NOW and Beowulf clusters now comprise 43 systems, including the first Itanium cluster, installed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the first Windows2000 cluster, installed at the Cornell Theory Center.

The Top 500 list, compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, ranks computers based on the Linpack benchmark.

The complete list is available at

— BT

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