TOP500

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Distribution of the top 500 supercomputers among different countries as of June 2014

The TOP500 project ranks and details the 500 most powerful (non-distributed) computer systems in the world. The project was started in 1993 and publishes an updated list of the supercomputers twice a year. The first of these updates always coincides with the International Supercomputing Conference in June, and the second is presented in November at the ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference. The project aims to provide a reliable basis for tracking and detecting trends in high-performance computing and bases rankings on HPL,[1] a portable implementation of the high-performance LINPACK benchmark written in Fortran for distributed-memory computers.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (and, from 1993 until his death in 2014, Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany.)

History[edit]

Rapid growth of supercomputers performance, based on data from top500.org site. The logarithmic y-axis shows performance in GFLOPS.
  Combined performance of 500 largest supercomputers
  Fastest supercomputer
  Supercomputer on 500th place

In the early 1990s, a new definition of supercomputer was needed to produce meaningful statistics. After experimenting with metrics based on processor count in 1992, the idea was born at the University of Mannheim to use a detailed listing of installed systems as the basis. In early 1993, Jack Dongarra was persuaded to join the project with his LINPACK benchmark. A first test version was produced in May 1993, partially based on data available on the Internet, including the following sources:[2][3]

The information from those sources was used for the first two lists. Since June 1993, the TOP500 is produced bi-annually based on site and vendor submissions only.

Since 1993, performance of the #1 ranked position has steadily grown in agreement with Moore's law, doubling roughly every 14 months. As of November 2014, the fastest system, the Tianhe-2 with a Rpeak[6] of 54.9024 PFLOPS, is over 419,102 times faster than the fastest system in November 1993, the Connection Machine CM-5/1024 (1024 cores) with Rpeak of 131.0 GFLOPS.[7]

Architecture and operating systems[edit]

As of November 2014, TOP500 supercomputers are mostly based on x86-64 CPUs (Intel EMT64 and AMD AMD64 instruction set architecture), with few exceptions (all RISC-based) including 39 supercomputers based on Power Architecture used by IBM POWER microprocessors, three SPARC (including two Fujitsu/SPARC-based, one of which surprisingly made the top in 2011 without a GPU, currently ranked fourth), and one ShenWei-based (ranked 11 in 2011, ranked 65th in November 2014) making up the remainder. Prior to the ascendance of 32-bit x86 and later 64-bit x86-64 in the early 2000s, a variety of RISC processor families made up the majority of TOP500 supercomputers, including RISC architectures such as SPARC, MIPS, PA-RISC and Alpha.

In recent years heterogeneous computing, mostly using Nvidia's graphics processing units (GPU) as coprocessors, has become a popular way to reach a better performance per watt ratio and higher absolute performance; it is almost required for good performance and to make the top (or top 10), with some exceptions, such as the mentioned SPARC computer without any coprocessors. A x86-based coprocessor, Xeon Phi, has also been used.

Share of processor architecture families in TOP500 supercomputers by time trend.

All the fastest supercomputers in the decade since the Earth Simulator supercomputer have used a Linux-based operating system. As of November 2014, 485 or 97% of the world's fastest supercomputers use the Linux kernel. Of the remaining 3%, the majority run the AIX Unix variant, with one running another Unix variant, one supercomputer running Windows, and one with a "mixed" operating system.[8] Within those 97% running Linux are the most powerful supercomputers including those ranking as the top ten.

Since November 2014, Windows Azure[9] cloud computer is no longer on the list of fastest supercomputers (its best rank was 165 in 2012), leaving the Shanghai Supercomputer Center's "Magic Cube" as the only Windows-based supercomputer, running Windows HPC 2008 and ranked 360 (its best rank was 11 in 2008).[10]

Top 10 ranking[edit]

Top 10 positions of the 45th TOP500 on June 2015
Rank Rmax
Rpeak
(PFLOPS)
Name Computer design
Processor type, interconnect
Vendor Site
Country, year
Operating system
1 33.863
54.902
Tianhe-2 NUDT
Xeon E5–2692 + Xeon Phi 31S1P, TH Express-2
NUDT National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou
  China, 2013
Linux (Kylin)
2 17.590
27.113
Titan Cray XK7
Opteron 6274 + Tesla K20X, Cray Gemini Interconnect
Cray Inc. Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  United States, 2012
Linux (CLE, SLES based)
3 17.173
20.133
Sequoia Blue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
IBM Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  United States, 2013
Linux (RHEL and CNK)
4 10.510
11.280
K computer RIKEN
SPARC64 VIIIfx, Tofu
Fujitsu RIKEN
  Japan, 2011
Linux
5 8.586
10.066
Mira Blue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
IBM Argonne National Laboratory
  United States, 2013
Linux (RHEL and CNK)
6 6.271
7.779
Piz Daint Cray XC30
Xeon E5–2670 + Tesla K20X, Aries
Cray Inc. Swiss National Supercomputing Centre
   Switzerland, 2013
Linux (CLE)
7 5.537
7.235
Shaheen II Cray XC40
Xeon E5–2698v3, Aries
Cray Inc. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
 Saudi Arabia, 2015
Linux (CLE)
8 5.168
8.520
Stampede PowerEdge C8220
Xeon E5–2680 + Xeon Phi, Infiniband
Dell Texas Advanced Computing Center
  United States, 2013
Linux (CentOS)[11]
9 5.008
5.872
JUQUEEN Blue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
IBM Forschungszentrum Jülich
  Germany, 2013
Linux (RHEL and CNK)
10 4.293
5.033
Vulcan Blue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
IBM Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  United States, 2013
Linux (RHEL and CNK)

Legend:

  • Rank – Position within the TOP500 ranking. In the TOP500 list table, the computers are ordered first by their Rmax value. In the case of equal performances (Rmax value) for different computers, the order is by Rpeak. For sites that have the same computer, the order is by memory size and then alphabetically.
  • Rmax – The highest score measured using the LINPACK benchmark suite. This is the number that is used to rank the computers. Measured in quadrillions of floating point operations per second, i.e. petaflops.
  • Rpeak – This is the theoretical peak performance of the system. Measured in PFLOPS.
  • Name – Some supercomputers are unique, at least on its location, and are therefore named by their owner.
  • Computer – The computing platform as it is marketed.
  • Processor cores – The number of active processor cores actively used running LINPACK. After this figure is the processor architecture of the cores named. If the interconnect between computing nodes is of interest, it's also included here.
  • Vendor – The manufacturer of the platform and hardware.
  • Site – The name of the facility operating the supercomputer.
  • Country – The country in which the computer is situated.
  • Year – The year of installation/last major update.
  • Operating system – The operating system that the computer uses.

Other rankings[edit]

Top countries[edit]

Numbers below represent the number of computers in the TOP500 that are in each of the listed countries.

Countries with TOP500 supercomputers.svg

Systems ranked #1 since 1993[edit]

Number of systems[edit]

By number of systems as of November 2014:[14]

Top processor generation
Top vendors
Operating system family

New developments in supercomputing[edit]

In November 2014, it was announced that the United States was developing two new supercomputers to dethrone China's Tianhe-2 from its position as world's fastest supercomputer. The two computers, Sierra and Summit, will each exceed Tianhe-2's 55 peak petaflops. Summit, the more powerful of the two, will deliver 150-300 peak petaflops.[15] On 10 April 2015, US government agencies banned Intel Corporation from providing Xeon chips to China under the fears of nuclear research.[16]

Large machines not on the list[edit]

A few machines that have not been benchmarked are not eligible for the list, such as NCSA's Blue Waters. Additional purpose-built machines that are not capable or do not run the benchmark were not included, such as RIKEN MDGRAPE-3.

Computers and architectures that drop off the list[edit]

IBM Roadrunner[17] is no longer on the list (or any other using the Cell coprocessor, or PowerXCell as in the Roadrunner supercomputer), but it is an example of a computer that would easily be included, if it had not been decommissioned, as it is faster than the one ranked 500th.[18]

Conversely, a computer might drop off the list, such as the Windows Azure,[19] while computers could be upgraded to get faster (or not) without being reported.

All Itanium based systems (including the one which reached second rank in 2004[20])[21] and vector processors (NEC-based such as the Earth simulator that was fastest in 2002[22]) have also fallen off the list.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HPL - A Portable Implementation of the High-Performance Linpack Benchmark for Distributed-Memory Computers". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "AN INTERVIEW WITH JACK DONGARRA by Alan Beck, editor in chief HPCwire". [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Statistics on Manufacturers and Continents
  4. ^ "The TOP25 Supercomputer Sites". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Where does Asia stand? This rising supercomputing power is reaching for real-world HPC leadership.". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Rpeak – This is the theoretical peak performance of the system. Measured in PFLOPS.
  7. ^ "Sublist Generator". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Top500 - List Statistics - November 2014". Top500.org. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Microsoft Windows Azure". 
  10. ^ "Magic Cube - Dawning 5000A, QC Opteron 1.9 GHz, Infiniband, Windows HPC 2008". 
  11. ^ "Texas Advanced Computing Center". Texas Advanced Computing Center. University of Texas at Austin. 
  12. ^ http://www.top500.org/lists/2015/06/
  13. ^ http://www.top500.org/lists/2014/11/
  14. ^ "List Statistics". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Balthasar, Felix. "US Government Funds $425 million to build two new Supercomputers". News Maine. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "US nuclear fears block Intel China supercomputer update". 
  17. ^ "ROADRUNNER - BLADECENTER QS22/LS21 CLUSTER, POWERXCELL 8I 3.2 GHZ / OPTERON DC 1.8 GHZ, VOLTAIRE INFINIBAND". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Cluster Platform DL360e Gen8, Xeon E5-2450 8C 2.100GHz, Gigabit Ethernet". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  19. ^ http://www.top500.org/system/177982
  20. ^ "Thunder - Intel Itanium2 Tiger4 1.4GHz - Quadrics". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "Columbia - SGI Altix 1.5/1.6/1.66 GHz, Voltaire Infiniband". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  22. ^ "Japan Agency for Marine -Earth Science and Technology". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 

External links[edit]