Print 31 comment(s) - last by iFX.. on Nov 15 at 12:01 PM

Livermore’s Blue Gene/L  (Source: IBM)
IBM leads the TOP500 for the fourth consecutive year

IBM is once again number one for the 30th installment of the TOP500 supercomputer list. The newly upgraded BlueGene/L System -- a joint venture between IBM and the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory --  took top honors with a Linpack benchmark score of 478.2 TeraFLOPS.

The BlueGene/L has held the top spot since November 2004 and shows no signs of relinquishing its crown any time soon. The 478.2 TFLOPS performance of BlueGene/L marked a significant improvement over its pre-upgrade performance six months ago of “only” 280.6 TFLOPS.

The BlueGene/L which took top honors features 104 racks (64 pre-upgrade). Each rack contains 1,024 nodes with 2,048 IBM Power processors.

The next closest supercomputer, a BlueGene/P headed by Forschungszentrum Juelich, was a distant second with 167.3 TFLOPS. Rounding out the top five was an SGI Altix ICE 8200 based at the New Mexico Computing Applications Center (126.9 TFLOPS), an HP Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c run by India's Computational Research Laboratories (117.9 TFLOPS) and another HP Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c run by the Swedish government (102.8 TFLOPS).

IBM led all competitors on the TOP500 list with 232 systems (45 percent representation). Four of the IBM systems were in the Top 10, while 38 were in the Top 100.

Of the 500 supercomputer systems that made the TOP500, 354 used Intel processors. AMD processors pulled in with a second place showing of 78 systems, while IBM's Power processors were featured in 61 systems.

The BlueGene/L's significant gains in computing power over a short period of time lead many (including IBM) to speculate that the petaflop barrier will be crossed in 2008. “Petaflop computers promise exponential breakthroughs in science and engineering by providing predictive and highly detailed simulations,” said IBM in a press release. “Earthquake simulations, for example, could show building-by-building movements of entire regions along the San Andreas fault, improving future designs of earthquake-resistant structures.”

The massive amounts of computing power provided by these supercomputer systems are channeled by a diverse field of institutions and companies.

"This sort of looms over what they are doing," said Herb Schultz, marketing manager for IBM's Deep Computing division. "You have financial institutions running these huge financial modeling applications and you have oil and gas companies looking for resources in obscure places."

IBM expects that its new supercomputer systems to be introduced next year will find a home in a variety of fields including weather forecasting, energy exploration, and auto and aerospace engineering.

IBM is also putting the finishing touches on its “RoadRunner” supercomputer which will feature Power processor cores backed by Sony’s Cell Broadband Engine which has gained an enormous amount of fame in the past year. The petaflop machine will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in the latter half of 2008.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

"FLOPS per second" is redundant
By ninjit on 11/13/2007 11:59:10 AM , Rating: 5
Like "PIN number", its a common mistake...

From the article:
...took top honors with a Linpack benchmark score of 478.2 teraflops per second (TFlops/s).

FLOPS stands for FL oating-point O perations P er S econd.{97C...

The mistake is an easy one to make, because a lot of people believe FLOPS stands for FLoating-point OPS (where OPS is shorthand for Operations), which is a reasonable assumption.

In looking for references though I did come across this term used to describe the problem
RAS syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome)
hehe, nice...

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By theapparition on 11/13/2007 12:47:27 PM , Rating: 5
You are 100% correct.

Yet, somehow, I still don't care.

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By adam92682 on 11/13/2007 1:40:16 PM , Rating: 3
maybe they mean 478.2 TFLOPS squared

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By Hieyeck on 11/13/2007 1:50:55 PM , Rating: 4
so every second it GAINS 478.2 teraflops? I want that computer.

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By TechLuster on 11/13/2007 10:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
No, he's most definitely NOT 100% correct.

I agree that in this context, you want to use FLOPS (to mean FLoating point Operations Per Second) instead of FLOPS per second, but using FLOPS to stand for FLoating point OPS (i.e. operations) can be 100% correct usage in the right context, namely when we're considering op counts, not op rates.

People doing computational linear algebra in fact regularly use the term FLOPS when counting the number of floating point ops in algorithms.

Finally, if you visit the link above, you'll see that Wikipedia agrees with me (you all didn't read far enough down the page).

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By masher2 on 11/13/2007 11:08:54 PM , Rating: 1
True enough. FLOPS per second is certainly a lot less redundant than tuna fish, yet people still use that expression on a daily basis.

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By NuclearDelta on 11/13/2007 1:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
NT Technology : New technology technology?

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By bertomatic on 11/13/2007 3:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
NT Technology = Northern Telecom Technology
Look on the back of an NT 4.0 Disk sleeve and you will see that NT is a registered trademark of Northern Telecom.


By Oregonian2 on 11/13/2007 2:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know if having "per second" twice matters when the machine it's talking about has a zillion processors in it. A lot more than two.

Having per-second twice is just redundancy done for reliability sake. Redundancy is a primary way to gain increased reliability as in RAID arrays (see! "RAID arrays" is itself redundant redundancy).

RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By mrvulcanraven on 11/13/07, Rating: -1
RE: "FLOPS per second" is redundant
By iFX on 11/15/2007 12:01:31 PM , Rating: 1

All you need to know...
By zsdersw on 11/13/2007 10:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
... is in this part of the article:

Of the 500 supercomputer systems that made the TOP500, 354 used Intel processors. AMD processors pulled in with a second place showing of 78 systems, while IBM's Power processors were featured in 61 systems.

RE: All you need to know...
By s12033722 on 11/13/2007 10:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
I'm curious as to what the other 7 use....

RE: All you need to know...
By spluurfg on 11/13/2007 10:38:57 AM , Rating: 4
Hamsters on wheels.

RE: All you need to know...
By darkpaw on 11/13/2007 1:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
I would guess Sparc or something custom.

Hampsters might work, but that would generate a lot of crap to clean up.

RE: All you need to know...
By FITCamaro on 11/13/2007 8:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
Computers don't use Honda Civic engines.

RE: All you need to know...
By lompocus on 11/14/07, Rating: 0
By wordsworm on 11/13/2007 9:17:32 AM , Rating: 4
I think you either meant 'super computer' or 'super commuter'.

RE: Supercomuter
By omnicronx on 11/13/2007 9:42:07 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely super commuter.. Have to watch out for the IBM supercomputers with their damn bus passes....

I hope...
By DeepBlue1975 on 11/13/2007 11:25:19 AM , Rating: 1
I hope no one comes with the old an boring joke "But... can it play doom?" :D

Seriously talking, I had already started to miss big news from IBM. They're the ones to make the computer world go round (talking about research and big things like this one, of course...).

RE: I hope...
By Lonyo on 11/13/2007 12:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
More like, "Can it play Doom... raytraced?"

RE: I hope...
By stmok on 11/14/2007 6:27:24 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed. LOL.

If you're an opensource fan, you'd probably ask this old question: "Does it run on Linux?"

I did a little checking on that IBM supercomputer, and it actually does!

In fact, (pointless trivia), 85.20% on that top500 list of supercomputers use Linux as their OS. (That's 426 out of 500)

This is kind of sad, but...
By DOSGuy on 11/14/2007 4:14:14 AM , Rating: 4
The world's most powerful super computer hits 478.2 teraFLOPS, and the relatively small base of people running Folding@home on their PS3s have broken 1 petaFLOPS.

Now, before anyone flames me and starts a technical discussion on comparing the kind of FLOPS that the Cell processor is doing on Folding@home with the kind of FLOPS that Blue Gene is performing, or starts quoting PS3 sales figures, please focus on the point I'm trying to illustrate: the unused processing power of the hundreds of millions of personal computers in the world must be greater than every super computer in the world combined.

That power could be harnessed to find a cure for cancer (Folding@home), discover huge prime numbers (GIMPS, Seventeen or Bust), optimal goulomb rulers (, and maybe even discover extraterrestrial life (SETI@home). We could cure diseases and unlock the secrets of the universe. The world's unused processing power could potentially do so much good, people should almost be required by law to donate their spare processing power to a distributed computing project.

I would like to see operating system vendors voluntarily add a distributing computing project selection screen (which the customer would be free to decline) during the installation or registration process. Even if the customer declines, at least he or she is now aware of distributed computing and the good that it can do. I am so convinced of the potential benefits to humanity that could result from such a selection screen that I have created a petition to Microsoft, Apple, the Linux Foundation, and any other organization that has input into the future direction of operating systems at

I apologize for using DailyTech to promote a cause, but I think it's relevant to the discussion. Think about all of the effort and expense that it took to make Blue Gene, and then realize that we collectively have enough processing power to kick Blue Gene's butt. Let's use that power to do something good.

By bhieb on 11/13/2007 4:16:16 PM , Rating: 2
Upgrades or not, in the computing world for the same machine to hold the title for 3 years on anything is pretty darn impressive. Although it can be argued that it is not the same "super computer" anymore.

so many processors
By cambit69 on 11/13/2007 8:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
with 212,992 processors, i wonder how many go bad per day.

Cell BE != Sony
By MrPickins on 11/14/2007 3:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
I'm tired of people crediting/blaming things solely on Sony when other companies had a part in the design.

Cell is just as much IBM or Toshiba's as it is Sony's.

By MangoSRT8 on 11/13/07, Rating: -1
RE: but
By omnicronx on 11/13/2007 10:14:05 AM , Rating: 2
Why does everyone always ask this? It was not funny the first time, sure as hell is not funny the 10341st time...

p.s if you are going to pick an non existent rez like that.. why not make it totally unbelievable?. '1203213 x 23133' @ 128 bit colour..

RE: but
By shaw on 11/13/2007 10:15:48 AM , Rating: 2
Oh god, hopefully they don't try or else it may spark an accidental software rendering renaissance.

I'm trying to forget about the old days when my games would run faster and sometimes look better in software rendering over hardware rendering back on the P-100Mhz Compaq with 8MB of system memory. X_X

RE: but
By DeepBlue1975 on 11/13/2007 11:30:01 AM , Rating: 2
Nice times... I still remember the era when 4mb of RAM where a hellful of memory.
I was amazed to know that Sega's Afterburner 2 coin op. game had 4mb of RAM.

Now you have manyfold more than that even in the cheapest smartphones out there and... they are not as exciting as playing Afterburner II was on those spinning cabins. :(

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki