IBM, Intel chew up supercomputer list

IBM and Intel have edged ahead on a quickly changing list of the 500 fastest supercomputers.

Hewlett-Packard leads the herd with 159 systems on the list, which is set to be released Monday, up from 137, six months ago. But IBM has almost caught up by increasing its numbers to 158 from 131. Meanwhile, the number of systems based on Intel processors--mostly Xeons and a handful of Itaniums--increased from 56 to 119. Big Blue continues to lead when it comes to the largest fraction of the total computing horsepower. Of the total ability of 375 trillion calculations per second, or teraflops, IBM machines account for 34 percent. More than a tenth of the total comes from the Japanese Earth Simulator, a behemoth with a 36-teraflop rating.

Sun Microsystems, despite a new high-performance computing effort, has only nine systems on the list. The Top500 list is released twice each year by researchers from Germany's University of Mannheim and the University of Tennessee. And although it always changes, the flux in the new list is higher than usual.

Turnover is high, for one thing. The lowest-ranked system on the new list has a speed of 245 gigaflops, or billion calculations per second. Six months ago, that was enough performance for a comfortable 285th-place ranking.

And there are new varieties of systems arriving, including Cray's new X1, which holds 10 spots starting with No. 112. A Windows system has made a rare appearance. This cluster of Dell Computer servers with 384 Xeon processors built at the Cornell Theory Center ranked No. 50.

News source: C|net

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