TABLE 1. TOP SUPERCOMPUTERS FROM 06/1993–11/2012
|Name||Country||Site||Manufacturer||Date in No. 1 Position|
|CM-5||US||Los Alamos National Laboratory||Thinking Machines Corporation||06/1993|
|Numerical Wind Tunnel||Japan||National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan||Fujitsu||11/1993, 11/1994, 06/1995, 11/1995|
|Intel XP/S 140 Paragon||US||Sandia National Laboratory||Intel||06/1994|
|Hitachi SR2201||Japan||University of Tokyo||Hitachi||06/1996|
|CP-PACS||Japan||Center for Computational Science, University of Tsukuba||Hitachi||11/1996|
|ASCI Red||US||Sandia National Laboratory||Intel||06/1997, 11/1997, 06/1998, 11/1998, 06/1999, 11/1999, 06/2000|
|ASCI White||US||Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory||IBM||11/2000, 06/2001, 11/2001|
|The Earth Simulator||Japan||Earth Simulator Center||NEC||06/2002, 11/2002, 06/2003, 11/2003, 06/2004|
|BlueGene/L||US||Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory||IBM||11/2004, 06/2005, 11/2005, 06/2006,11/2006, 06/2007|
|Roadrunner||US||Los Alamos National Laboratory||IBM||06/2008, 11/2008, 06/2009|
|Jaguar||US||Oak Ridge National Laboratory||Cray, Inc.||11/2009, 06/2010|
|Tianhe-1A||China||National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin||National University of Defense Technology||11/2010|
|K Computer||Japan||RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science||Fujitsu||06/2011, 11/2011|
|Sequoia||US||Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory||IBM||06/2012|
|Titan||US||Oak Ridge National Laboratory||Cray, Inc.||11/2012|
FIGURE 1. Over the past 20 years, supercomputer performance has increased from gigaflops in 1993 to teraflops in 1997 and then to petaflops in 2008. TOP500 projects that by 2018, the highest performing supercomputer will reach about 1 exaflops (i.e., quintillions of floating-point operations per second; not shown in figure).
The • red data points show the sum LINPACK performance of all 500 supercomputers on the TOP500 list, the • purple data points show the LINPACK performance of the top supercomputer (i.e., number one on the list) and the • blue data points show the LINPACK performance of the bottom supercomputer (i.e., number 500 on the list).
FIGURE 2. Since 2004, cluster computing has been the dominant computing architecture of supercomputers in the TOP500 list.
The number of processors and their configuration determine how a computer reads and carries out program instructions. A single processor allows a computer to carry out one instruction at a time. A multiprocessor allows a computer to carry out two or more instructions simultaneously.
In symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), two or more identical processors are connected to a single shared main memory and controlled by a single operating system. In this kind of architecture, a computer system can execute multiple instructions simultaneously while drawing upon shared resources, which is useful for processes such as online transactions. In massively parallel processing (MPP), two or more identical processors are each connected to a separate memory and are each controlled by a separate but identical operating system. An interconnect arrangement of data paths allows messages to be sent between processors. In an MPP architecture, the workload is essentially distributed across separate computers that communicate with one another so, for example, a number of databases can be searched in parallel.
Single instruction, multiple data (SIMD) processing is a form of parallel processing that lets one microinstruction operate at the same time on multiple data items, which is useful for processes involving multimedia applications. Cluster computing is another form of parallel processing that uses multiple separate computers, each having an SMP architecture, to form what appears to users as a single system. A cluster computing architecture is useful in handling traffic on high-traffic websites. Constellation computing is a cluster of symmetric multiprocessors.
FIGURE 3. Since 2004, Intel Corporation has been the dominant manufacturer of chips in the supercomputers that made it into the TOP500 list.
FIGURE 4. Supercomputers on the TOP500 list are used primarily in industry, research, and academia. Over 50% of them go to industry.
*All figures are from TOP500 and have been modified for online viewing.
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