Turnover in the top 10 was the story in the most recent list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers released this week by a group of scientists including University of Tennessee distinguished professor Jack Dongarra.
The Top500 List, published every six months by UT’s Dongarra along with colleagues at the University of Mannheim and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was announced Tuesday at the Supercomputing ’07 Conference in Reno, Nev.
Retaining its title as the world’s fastest computer, the IBM BlueGene/L system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory took top honors, with a speed of 478.2 teraflops. A teraflop is equal to 1 trillion calculations per second.
Behind the top system, though, five new computers entered the top 10. A new BlueGene system installed in Germany took second place, and a new SGI computer located at the New Mexico Computing Applications Center. India’s first-ever system in the top 10 took fourth place, a new Hewlett-Packard computer in Sweden took fifth place, and a new Cray XT4 system at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory took ninth.
This marks the 30th Top500 list, and the story told by the lists over the past 15 years is about ever more powerful computers, according to Dongarra. In fact, the slowest computer on this year’s list would have ranked in the top 260 in June’s list.
"As high-performance computing takes an increasingly prominent role in various fields of scientific research, the demand for bigger and faster machines will continue," said Dongarra, who heads UT’s Innovative Computing Laboratory.
The computers are ranked based on their performance using the Linpack benchmark program, which was written by Dongarra. The program solves a dense system of mathematical equations, putting the computer through its paces to determine how quickly it performs.
The slowest entry to make this Top500 list came in at a speed of 5.9 teraflops, nearly 50 percent faster than the slowest in the list of six months ago.
The U.S. is home to a large majority of the world’s fastest computers, with 284 of the Top500.
The next edition of the Top500 list will be released in June, 2008 at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany. More information and a complete listing of the Top500 is available at http://www.top500.org.