The new TOP500 in figures and percentages


20 Jun 2011 Hamburg - As requested by old ISC tradition, Erich Strohmaier highlighted the facts and details in the newly issued TOP500 list at ISC'11. There are now 10 Petaflop systems in the TOP500. The Roadrunner which was the first Petaflop system in this list some years ago, is now ranked no. 10 with the lowest power consumption in that TOP10. The TOP10 is not that exciting except for the new no. 1, of course. There is a new increase in performance since last year. As for the performance development, the effect of Moore's Law is being shown in an exponential growth.

Erich Strohmaier told the audience that the Earth Simulator had an equal advantage over its competitors as the Riken supercomputer has now. In 2019, the exaflop supercomputer is bound to arrive but the effect of the economic situation will play a role in the time schedule.

There are some changes in the performance of the different countries. The USA shows exponential growth but the growth has become slower in the last years. The European situation is stable. The big surprise is Japan with its phenomenal growth. China which was absent in the TOP500 in the 1990's has now uptaken a growth in orders of magnitude with two systems in the TOP10.

From the point of view of the companies, IBM is in the lead with a large number of systems. HP takes the second place. A number of companies are focusing on the research market. In third spot is Cray. Cray is followed by SGI, Dell and Oracle. There are very few commercial investing companies in the TOP500, as Erich Strohmaier pointed out.

When it comes to providing supercomputer power for research institutions, Cray is the leader. Fujitsu represents the K Computer and this is the only system it has in the TOP50. IBM has a couple of TOP50 systems. Cray has the most powerful systems. The TOP50 has more small companies with a few very powerful machines. At the bottom of the list the machines are divided between IBM and HP.

A comparison per country shows that the USA has 53% of the systems in the TOP500. China shows a steep rise. Europe holds a stable position with Germany and France as leaders. One exception is the number of machines in Russia that has been growing steadily.

In terms of installed performance, Japan lands just before China but the USA is taking the lead.

Erich Strohmaier also made an analysis of the manufacturers. Cray is represented in the USA, the UK and South Korea. Japan has Fujitsu and Hitachi machines which are Japanese companies. The same goes for China: local companies are building the big systems. In France the Tera100 system has been built by the local company Bull.

If we look at the type of processors, most companies are using Intel processors. IBM has power architecture, built by IBM itself and Cray is using AMD.

The Xeon X56xx - Westmere-EP is on top and the Xeon E55xx - Nehalem-EP is second. The SPARC64 VIIIfx represents 14%.

In the cores per socket comparison, the 6-core chips are on the rise. Erich Strohmaier told the audience that we don't know whether the processor-core change is due to the economic situation or whether it is a real development.

What about NVIDIA? The accelerators are a little bit of a challenge. A large system has typically many processors. Since 2006 accelerator systems have come into play. Some accelerators actually disappeared from the scene. The traditional accelerators are CPU-based. The IBM PowerXCell 8i has been used widely

but NVIDIA is rising with the NVIDIA 2070 and 2050. 14% of the power is delivered by accelerators.

The K computer has a Linpack efficiency of 93% which is very high. The low performance systems represent 50% of all the machines. They are not in the same range as the Infiniband systems. The GPU-based systems are rising but there problems with the GPU acceleration but however not fundamental, according to Erich Strohmaier.

Relating to absolute power levels, there are very few very large systems. The large power of the K computer is driven by its size.

The TOP10 system is growing in power consumption. The average power efficiency on all levels is increasing. The TOP10 is also growing in efficiency but here the systems' size has a great impact on the efficiency. The highest power efficiency is achieved by the Cell-based chips in the BlueGene prototypes.

The BlueGene/Q is very efficient and this is very impressive, as Erich Strohmaier pointed out.

The second most efficient system is the K computer which makes this system a big gateway to computational science.

Leslie Versweyveld