Top 500: Sequoia is Number One

Since 1993, the TOP500 project has been publishing a semi-annual list of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world, as a barometer of trends and accomplishments in high-performance computing.   The systems are ranked based on their speed in floating-point operations per second (FLOP/s), measured on the LINPACK benchmark, which involves the solution of a dense system of linear equations.

The latest version of the list has just been released, in conjunction with the 2012 International Supercomputing Conference, currently being held in Hamburg, Germany.  The top system this time is the Sequoia system at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which clocked in at over 16 petaflops (16 × 1015 flops):

For the first time since November 2009, a United States supercomputer sits atop the TOP500 list of the world’s top supercomputers. Named Sequoia, the IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved an impressive 16.32 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 1,572,864 cores.

The Japanese K-RIKEN system, ranked number 1 in the November 2011 Top-500 list, is now ranked second.  Ranked third is the Mira system at the Argonne National Laboratory, an IBM BlueGene/Q system with 786,432 processing cores, running at 8.15 petaflops.  The Chinese Tianhe-1A system, ranked second in November 2011 with 2.57 petaflops, is now ranked number 5.  The total capacity of the entire list is now 123.4 petaflops, compared with 74.2 in November.

As has been true for some time, the distribution of operating systems used is rather different from that in the desktop computing market:

OS Family Number % of Capacity
Linux 462 92.4
Unix 24 4.8
BSD-based 1 0.2
Windows 2 0.4
Mixed 11 2.2

Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop OS market clearly does not cut much ice in this area.

You can see the complete list here.

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