IBM and Cray claim victory in battle for supercomputer supremacy

San Francisco (CA) – IBM has managed to retain the No. 1 spot on the Top500 list of supercomputers with its 1.105 petaflop/s Roadrunner system. The Roadrunner, which is currently housed at the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), is reportedly the first computer to shatter the formidable petaflop/s Linpack barrier.

The Cray XT5 Jaguar system – installed at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory – captured second place by achieving an impressive 1.059 petaflop/s shortly after operations were initiated. Third place was awarded to a new IBM BlueGene/P system known as JUGENE, which is located at the Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) in Germany. JUGENE reached 825.5 teraflop/s and boasts a theoretical peak performance of just above 1 petaflop/s.

Top500 also reported a significant increase in the deployment of quad-core processors. Indeed, such processors are currently found in 383 systems, while only 102 systems utilize dual-core chips. In addition, four systems are currently powered by IBM’s advanced Sony PlayStation 3 processor with 9 cores, while two Cray units are loaded with new six-core Shanghai AMD Opteron processors.

Meanwhile, a total of 399 systems (79.8 percent) on the Top500 list use Intel processors. IBM Power processors are found in 55 systems (11 percent), followed by the AMD Opteron family with 43 systems (8.6 percent).

Intel spokesperson Nick Knupffer told TG Daily that performance, price and availability have all contributed to the increased adoption of Intel chips.

“In addition to hardware, Intel delivers software tools and technologies to maximize the value of HPC systems,” explained Knupffer. “For example, Intel Cluster Ready architecture shortens the time to productivity of clustered systems and increases software compatibility.”

Knupffer also noted that 33 of the top 500 systems were Nehalem based “only three months after launch,” and hinted that the market would “begin to see interesting things coming out from Cray and Intel in the future.”