IBM Sequoia supercomputer is ranked 1st in the world
The latest, 39th edition of TOP500 list of the world’s top supercomputers, was released today. As usually, the list is dominated by computers with microprocessors from AMD, IBM and Intel. According to top500.org press release, Intel processors power 372 systems out of 500, and AMD and IBM processors are used in 63 and 58 systems respectively. All three companies published today press releases touting High Performance Computing (HPC) solutions, based on their own technology.
Intel Xeon E5 series were released three months ago, however they are already well represented in the TOP500 list. There are two Xeon E5-based computers in the top 10, including "SuperMUC" (#4) and "Curie thin nodes", ranked as number 9. Both systems employ Xeon E5-2680 microprocessors, that boast 8 CPU cores, operating at 2.7 GHz, and backed up by 20 MB of L3 cache. The SuperMUC uses more than 18000 of these CPUs, with the total core count of 147,456, and benchmarked performance of 2897 TFlops. Interestingly enough, the SuperMUC uses hot-water cooling technology from IBM, which is claimed to reduce power consumption by 40%. Other supercomputers with Xeon E5-2600 series CPUs are Pleiades (No. 11), Helios (No. 12h), and a handful of other systems.
The top performing supercomputer with AMD CPU, Cray XK6, takes 6th spot in the TOP500 list. This system utilizes Opteron 6274 chips, paired with NVIDIA 2090 GPU computing modules. Each 6274 processor integrates 16 cores, and runs at 2.2 Ghz, albeit it could be boosted as high as 3.1 GHz when half of the cores are idle. Overall, Cray XK6 packs 298,592 cores and 598 TB of memory, and has maximum performance of 1941 TFlops. This is about 10% better that the performance of Cray XT5-HE, which was No.3 in the last year's list. In addition to being faster, Cray XK6 also has 27% lower power consumption than the XT5-HE.
IBM doesn't have as many supercomputers in the list as Intel, however their BlueGene/Q series looks the most impressive, taking 4 spots in the top 10 list. These systems come with 17-core Power A2 processors, that run at 1.6 GHz and support 4-way speculative multi-threading. Each processor uses one core for system operations, which leaves 16 cores for calculations. The typical BlueGene/Q supercomputer consists of multiple racks, with each rack housing two midplanes. The midplances are comprised of 16 node cards, and each of those has 32 computer cards installed. The compute card has one water-cooled microprocessor with its own dedicated 8 or 16 GB of DDR3 memory. Overall, one rack packs 1024 processors, or 16384 cores. The best TOP500 computer, Sequoia, includes 96 of those racks, which translates to 1,572,864 CPU cores. Having twice as many cores as the second TOP500 supercomputer gives the Sequoia quite significant lead in performance: 16324 TFlops, as opposed to 10510 TFlops for the closest contender.
Related News (older articles):
Mar 07, 2012: Intel rolls out Xeon E5-1600 and E5-2600 CPUs
Nov 14, 2011: AMD releases Opteron 6200 and 4200 CPUs