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New Petaflop Machine Joins Roadrunner on Top500; Four Life-Science Systems Make List

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The second supercomputer to break the petaflop barrier has joined Los Alamos National Laboratory’s IBM “Roadrunner” system atop the most recent Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers.
 
The new system, a Cray XT5 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory called Jaguar, posted a top performance of 1.059 petaflops per second in the Linpack benchmark. While this was faster than Roadrunner’s 1.026-petaflop benchmark for the June version of the list [BioInform 06-27-08], it was not enough to beat an enhanced version of the Los Alamos system that clocked 1.105 petaflops for the current ranking.
 
The number of supercomputers dedicated to life-science research in the twice-yearly list remained steady at four, though two systems that met the 9.0-teraflop performance requirement for the June list did not make the 12.64-teraflop cutoff this time around — a 10.2-teraflop HP system at Boehringer Ingelheim and a 9.3-teraflop IBM cluster at Merck.
 
Those were replaced with two new life-science machines: an 18,176-core HP cluster dubbed Chinook at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, which took the No. 20 spot with 97.1 teraflops; and a 3,540-core IBM cluster at an undisclosed “life-science” organization that came in at No. 271 with 17.2 teraflops (see Table 1, below, for details).
 
IBM’s 18.7 teraflop Blue Protein system at the AIST Computational Biology Research Center in Japan fell to No. 208 from No. 101 in the June list, while the 15.6-teraflop Dell “Bio-X2” machine at Stanford University’s Biomedical Computational Facility slipped to the No. 362 spot from No. 164 six months ago.
 
HP took over the lead from IBM in terms of the number of installed systems in the top500 list, with 209 systems, or 41.8 percent of all Top500 machines. IBM, which claimed 210 systems on the list six months ago, has 188 this time around, or 37.6 percent of all systems (see Table 2, below, for details). 
 
Cray, Dell, and SGI follow HP and IBM with 22, 18, and 17 installed systems, respectively. In a statement, the Top500 organizers said that the Cray XT system series is “very popular for big customers.” Indeed, four of the top-10 systems and 10 of the top 50 are Cray XTs.
 
Clusters remain the most common architecture in the Top500, with 410 systems in the current list compared to 400 six months ago (see Table 3, below, for details).
 
Multi-core processors are the dominant chip architecture among supercomputers on the list, with 336 systems using quad-core processors, 153 systems using dual-core processors, and only four systems using single-core processors. Seven systems on the Top500 use IBM’s Sony PlayStation 3 processor with nine cores.
 
Intel processors continue to gain ground, with 379 systems on the current list compared to 375 systems six months ago. IBM Power processors and the AMD Opteron family are neck-and-neck as the second most common processor family with 60 and 59 systems, respectively (see Table 4, below, for details).
 
In terms of operating systems, Linux increased its share to 439 systems from 427 in the June list. “Mixed” operating systems were the next-most popular, with 31 systems on the Top500, followed by Unix machines, which made up 23 systems of the current list compared to 25 six months ago. There are five Windows systems and one Mac OS machine on the current list.  
 
The Top500 organizers now track the power consumption for systems on the list. The most energy-efficient supercomputers are based on IBM QS22 Cell processor blades, which provide up to 536 megaflops per watt, an improvement from 488 megaflops per watt on the June version of the list.
 
The complete Top500 list is available here

 
Table 1: Life Science Supercomputers in Top500, by Rank, November 2008
Rank Nov. 2008
Rank June 2008
Installation Site Manufacturer/Computer Number of Processors
Tflop/s (max)
20
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory) HP/"Chinook" Cluster Platform 4000 DL185G5, (2.2 GHz Opteron QC)
18,176
97.1
208
101
Computational Biology Research Center, AIST (Japan) IBM/"Blue Protein" eServer Blue Gene Solution
8,192
18.7
271
Undisclosed Life Science Organization IBM/BladeCenter HS21 Cluster (2.33 GHz Xeon dual core)
3,540
17.2
362
164
Stanford University Biomedical Computational Facility Dell/"Bio-X2" PowerEdge 1950 (2.33 GHz)
2,208
15.6

 

Table 2: Top500 Supercomputer Manufacturer Installations, November 2008
Manufacturer
Count
Nov. 2008
Count
June 2008
Change
in Count
Hewlett-Packard
209
183
+26
IBM
186
209
-23
Cray
22
16
+6
Dell
19
25
-6
SGI
17
22
-5
Sun Microsystems
7
4
+3
Appro International
4
4
Fujitsu
3
4
-1
Self-made
3
3
Bull
3
3
Hitachi
2
4
-2
Linux Networx
2
4
-2
ClusterVision/Dell
2
2
ClusterVision/IBM
2
1
+1
Dell/Sun
2
0
+2
ACTION
1
2
-1
Intel
1
1
NEC
1
1
Transtec
1
1
California Digital
1
1
NEC/Sun
1
1
DALCO Switzerland
1
1
Koi Computers
1
1
Pyramid Computer
1
1
UNICORNER/Fujitsu-Siemens
1
1
Dawning
1
0
+1
ClusterVision
1
0
+1
Number of installed systems in the Top500

 

Table 3: Top500 Architecture Ranking, November 2008
Computer Architecture
Count
Nov. 2008
Count
June 2008
Change
Cluster (Beowulf, NOW, etc.)
410
400
+10
MPP (homogeneous architecture)
88
98
-10
Constellations (cluster of symmetrical processors)
2
2
Number of installed systems in the Top500

 

Table 4: Top500 Processor Generation Ranking, November 2008
Processor Generation
Count
Nov. 2008
Count
June 2008
Change
Xeon E54xx (Harpertown)
186
116
+70
Xeon 51xx (Woodcrest)
70
91
-21
Xeon 53xx (Clovertown)
66
92
-26
Xeon L54xx (Harpertown)
32
6
+26
Opteron Quad Core
31
13
+18
Opteron Dual Core
29
42
-13
PowerPC 440
14
21
-7
PowerPC 450
12
12
POWER6
12
7
+5
POWER5+
7
12
-5
PowerXCell 8i
7
3
+4
PowerPC 970
5
6
-1
Xeon 52xx (Wolfdale)
5
4
+1
Itanium2 Montecito Dual Core
5
6
-1
Xeon X54xx (Harpertown)
4
39
-35
POWER5
3
4
-1
Xeon 73xx (Tigerton)
3
4
-1
Itanium 2 Dual Core
2
4
-2
Itanium 2
1
3
-2
Itanium2 Fanwood
1
2
-1
NEC
1
1
Xeon EM64T
1
1
Xeon 50xx (Dempsy)
1
1
Xeon 32xx (Kentsfield)
1
1
SPARC64 VII
1
0
+1

 

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