The Top 10 Supercomputers
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The twice-a-year list of the Top 500 supercomputers documents the most powerful systems on the planet. Many of these supercomputers are striking not just for their processing power, but for their design and appearance as well. Here’s a look at the top finishers in the latest Top 500 list, which was released Monday, November 15, 2011 at the SC11 conference in Seattle.
K SUPERCOMPUTER, RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS), Japan
The “K” supercomputer, a joint project by Fujitsu and the RIKEN center, maintained its position atop the newest edition of the TOP500 List of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, thanks to a full build-out that makes it four times as powerful as its nearest competitor. Installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan, the K Computer it achieved an impressive 10.51 Petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores. The K Computer is the first supercomputer to achieve a performance level of 10 Petaflop/s, or 10 quadrillion calculations per second. In June 2011, the partially built K computer had taken the No. 1 position with a performance of 8.16 Petaflop/s.
TIANHE-1A, National Supercomputing Center, Tianjin, China
The Tianhe-1A, the most powerful supercomputer in the world as of November 2010.
The Chinese Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin remained in second in the latest survey, achieving a performance level of 2.57 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second). One year ago, the Tianhe-1A system took the top spot, but was dethroned when the next TOP500 list was published in June 2011.
JAGUAR, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Jaguar was the top performer in the June 2010 survey, but in November 2010 fell back to second and in June slipped to third, where it remains with a 1.75 petaflop performance speed running the Linpack benchmark. Jaguar is a Cray XT5 system located at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee. While Jaguar fell a few flops short this year, it retains a leadership position in supercomputing style with its striking Jaguar motif.
Nebulae, which is located at the National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen, China, achieved 1.271 PFlop/s to rank fourth overall, down one position from the November survey. Nebulae was built from a Dawning TC3600 Blade system with Intel X5650 processors and NVIDIA Tesla C2050 GPU.
TSUBAME 2.0, GSIC Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology
The Tsubame supercomputer at the Tokyo Institute of Technology
Like the top-ranked Tianhe system, Tsubame 2.0 is a successor system that builds upon the design of a previously-ranked system. Tsubame 2.0 was developed by the Tokyo Institute of Technology in collaboration with NEC and HP, and is powered by more than 1,400 nodes using both HP Proliant servers and NVIDIA Tesla GPUs. It is Japan’s highest-ranked supercomputer. Plans are being developed for Tsubame 3.0.
We continue our illustrated review of the top finishers in the latest Top 500 list, which was released Monday at the SC11 conference in Seattle. “This is the first time since we began publishing the list back in 1993 that the top 10 systems showed no turnover,” said TOP500 editor Erich Strohmaier, who will lead the discussion at SC11. See part one for images of the five most powerful machines. We continue at number six.
CIELO, Los Alamos National Labs
The new supercomputer named Cielo, the Spanish word for sky, will support all three national laboratories at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), including Los Alamos, Sandia, and Livermore. Cielo is the next generation capability class platform for the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program. Cielo’s architecture is based on Cray’s next generation “Baker” architecture with AMD’s new Magny-Cours processor, Cray’s “Gemini” high-speed interconnect and Compute Node Linux operating system.
PLEIADES, NASA Ames Research Center
Pleiades, a supercomputer at the NASA Ames Reseach Center in Mountain Vew, Calif., achieved a LINPACK benchmark of 1.09 petaflop/s), Since June 2010, NASA has implemented a series of expansions to the system’s performance capabilities, adding 14 new SGI Altix ICE 8400 systems so that Pleiades now contains 23,296 Intel Xeon quad- and hex-core processors (111,104 cores in 182 racks). Pleiades is used to meet the computing needs on NASA’s most demanding modeling and simulation projects in aeronautics; Earth and space science; exploration systems and technologies; and future space operations.
HOPPER, NERSC at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs
Hopper is named for American computer scientist Grace Hopper, and now powers science research at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center’s (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. Hopper is powered by the Cray XE6 system. A pioneer in the field of software development and programming languages, Hopper created the first compiler. The Hopper system clocked in at 1.05 petaflop/s.
TERA-100, CEA, France
- A cool shot of the Tera-100 supercomputer, a Bull-powered system at the French atomic energy agency.
Tera-100 is now Europe’s most powerful supercomputer. The system resides at the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique (CEA), where it supports the French nuclear weapons simulation program. era 100 consists of 4,300 bullx S Series servers, which were introduced by Bull in April 2010. It features 140,000 Intel Xeon 7500 processing cores, 300TB of central memory and a total storage capacity of over 20PB.
ROADRUNNER, Los Alamos National Laboratory
When the Roadrunner system at Los Alamos first appeared at the top of the June 2008 TOP500 list, it was the world’s first supercomputer to achieve a top performance of more than 1 petaflop/s (1015 floating point operations per second). It has now slipped to seventh place in the latest survey.