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India supercomputer ranks fourth in Top 500 list

Posted: 14 Nov 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:supercomputer  Ethernet  Intel chip 

India debuted for the first time as home to one of the most powerful systems in the latest ranking of the Top 500 supercomputers released at the Supercomputing 2007 conference.

The Computational Research Laboratories—a subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd in Pune, India—currently ranks as the world's fourth most powerful system, according to the latest ranking. It is based on a cluster of Hewlett-Packard (HP) 3000 BL460c systems that delivers 117.9 TFps. The systems are linked by a novel five-stage, 20Gbit/s Infiniband network using switches from Mellanox Technologies and Voltaire Ltd.

The system is one of 354 or 64.4 per cent of those on the list that use Intel processors. That is Intel's largest share to date, up from 289 systems or 57.8 per cent of the list using Intel chips in the previous list released six months ago.

Processor dominance
Multicore processors dominate the list, and Intel's recently released quad-core Clovertown was the fastest growing chip in the ranking. In six months, Clovertown rose from appearing in 19 to 102 systems.

Meanwhile, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) remains the second post popular chip vendor on the list with CPUs in 78 systems or 15.6 per cent of all systems on the list, down from 105 systems (21 per cent) six months ago. IBM's Power processors ranked third, appearing in 61 systems (12.2 per cent), down from 85 systems (17 per cent) six months ago.

The Clovertown CPU handles twice as many floating-point operation/s compared to Intel's previous dual-core server processor, the Woodcrest. AMD's first quad-core chip, the Barcelona, was not released in time to make a showing on the current list.

System vendor race
Among system vendors, IBM and HP continue to be the two leading vendors in the Top 500, with IBM regaining the top spot from HP in the latest rankings. IBM had 232 systems (46.4 per cent) on the list, including the top two most powerful computers. That compares to 166 systems (33.2 per cent) for HP.

IBM's BlueGene/L System at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been listed as the world's most powerful super since November 2004 and currently delivers 478.2TFps.

No other system maker had more than five per cent of the systems on the list. Dell and SGI had 4.8 and 4.4 per cent of systems in the Top 500 respectively.

Clusters continue to be the most popular architecture among the Top 500 with a whopping 406 systems (81.2 per cent) now using this approach of ganging together off-the-shelf servers. The majority of those systems, 270 in all, use Ethernet as an interconnect, followed by Infiniband which is used on 121 systems.

A year ago Gbit Ethernet was used 211 systems on the list, and Infiniband appeared in 78 systems. The list does not yet break out use of 10Gbit Ethernet interconnects.

India has nine systems on the current Top 500, including the fourth largest supercomputer. The United States is the largest user of high-end systems as home to 284 systems. European continues to rise as the second largest location with 149 systems, up from 127.

Asia's share of supercomputers is falling with 58 systems on the list, down from 72 systems six months ago. Japan is home to 20 of those systems, Taiwan has 11 and China has 10.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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