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Technology (Apple) Hardware Technology

Earth Simulator, G5 Cluster Drop In 'Top 500' List 343

daveschroeder writes "The November Top 500 supercomputer list has been published at SC2004. Topping the charts is IBM and the US Department of Energy's 'BlueGene/L DD2' beta system, at 70.72 TFlops, followed by NASA's 'Columbia' at 51.87.TFlops. For the first time in several publications of this list, Japan's Earth Simulator is no longer in the number one slot, falling to third. Virginia Tech's 'System X' Xserve G5 cluster, while 20% faster than the original cluster that debuted at number 3 last November, has fallen to number 7 due to the new entries, but remains the fastest supercomputer at an academic institution. Here's an excellent cost comparison (Google cache) of the top machines ('System X' is significantly cheaper than anything else in the top 20, not to mention cheaper than many things far below it in performance)."
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Earth Simulator, G5 Cluster Drop In 'Top 500' List

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  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foxalopex ( 522681 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:07AM (#10763187)
    Err, I'm not sure if the costs can be accurately compared in this way. One needs to remember that a cluster of separate computers acting as a supercomputer compared to a custom designed hardwired system isn't exactly the same thing! Otherwise you can start comparing stuff like SETI which I'm sure is the world's cheapest supercomputer because it technically didn't cost anything to SETI themselves.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:27AM (#10763304)
      Viruses are the new supercomputers.
    • by MooseByte ( 751829 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:30AM (#10763316)

      "I'm not sure if the costs can be accurately compared in this way. [ ... ] Otherwise you can start comparing stuff like SETI which I'm sure is the world's cheapest supercomputer"

      Actually that sounds like a perfectly valid comparison, SETI included. In bang for the buck SETI deserves to win hands-down in that scenario, and fairly. System X deserves its place as well.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Depending on application, System X's 'bang for buck' could actually be an unmitigated loss compared to IBM's offering. Any problem that isn't embarassingly parallel, for instance, would destroy System X in a value comparison with even crazy-expensive Cray machines. On such a problem even SETI, were it forced to utilize all nodes, would be orders of magnitude slower than a dual opteron workstation (if not, it might be faster if any single node (or tight cluster of nodes) is faster than the aforementioned w
    • If you put conditions on the comparison, such as the computers are all housed at the same location and the money came from the same place, then the comparison works fine. Donations don't have to be counted, because that's up to each institution's discretion and individual efforts to collect.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <wesley@felter.org> on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:18AM (#10763551) Homepage
      All the systems on the Top 500 list are benchmarked running Linpack. If you can run Linpack on SETI@home, you're welcome to count it.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ibanez ( 37490 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:50AM (#10763668)
      Well then, why not compare the earth? What other supercomputer has gotten closer to "42" than it?
      • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Informative)

        by dustpuppy_de ( 322556 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @04:24AM (#10764001) Homepage
        Deep Thought, actually. This supercomputer calculated that very number, as the answor to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. Earth, Deep Thought's successor, was pretty close to calculating the question, without which the answer obviously doesn't make very much sense - but as we all know, it was destroyed by the Vogons to make way for a new hyperspace bypass.

        More Information here. [wikipedia.org]
    • by joib ( 70841 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @04:47AM (#10764059)
      The cost he quotes for the Blue Gene ($200 million) was the cost of some government contract that included BG/L, ASCI Purple (a huge cluster of POWER5 servers) and some R&D as well.

      Recently IBM announced their commercial prices for BG machines (see e.g. theregister.co.uk or news.com.com). Prices start at $1.5 million (1 fully equipped cabinet). Using this price and published linpack figures one arrives at about 2.9 Mflop/s/$, compared to the maximum value of 2.2 Mflop/s/$ he quotes for the best apple system.

      Add in the fact that the BG uses much less space and power than a comparable xserve cluster, that it has a faster and lower latency network, and we have a winner.
    • by Tim C ( 15259 )
      it technically didn't cost anything to SETI themselves

      Well, presumably it's a tiny cost compared to that of a true supercomputer, but SETI costs them in bandwidth - both client downloads and updates, and uploading packets of work and downloading processed packets. Even if SETI itself isn't paying for the bandwidth, *someone* is...
  • by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:07AM (#10763189)
    I hear they're using it to convert heat into electricity for the rest of the government. Hence their name.
  • Pizza arguments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:08AM (#10763194)
    A few more thoughts...

    Before anyone says "Of course System X is cheaper! Virginia Tech had free student labor to put it together! They paid them in pizza!"

    The only thing anywhere close to System X is NCSA's Tungsten, a 2500 processor Pentium IV Xeon Dell Linux cluster. It cost $12 million, just for the asset (comparable to System X's $5.8 million overall price, including the upgrade to Xserve G5s). That's twice the cost, and over 2Tflops less performance. 2Tflops is a top 100 supercomputer...so it's a whole top 100 supercomputer poorer in performance, for an extra $6.2 million.

    Another example is PNNL's 1936 processor Itanium2 cluster: 3.5Tflops less performance than System X, for $25 million.

    Any way you slice it - no pun intended - System X is still a LOT cheaper, even if you allot, say $2M for professional installation and systems integration - an EXTREMELY liberal estimate, probably by an order of magnitude.

    System X also has the highest Rmax per CPU of any system on the list, except for specialty non-commodity systems like Earth Simulator.

    And on top of it all, last November, they hit #3 in the world, #2 in the US, and #1 academic, as well as the first academic site to ever exceed 10Tflops, all for less than $7 million in total - including all improvements to buildings, physical plant, and other infrastructure.

    That first system might not have had ECC, but what it did do is break into the top 5, following all the rules of the Top 500 organization, for relative pocket change - for a price that was absolutely unheard of, sharing the spotlight with systems that cost $100 million or more - and also catapulted Virginia Tech to a supercomputing center of national prominence overnight, able to attract additional attention, funding, grants, and publicity. Not to mention testing and proving the suitability of a completely new OS, platform, processor, and interconnect for high-performance computing, increasing choice for all (and resulting in new clusters based on the same technology, such as the US Army/COLSA cluster). And even as new systems enter the top ten in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, System X retains the title of #1 at any academic institution, and shares the top 10 with the best of the best.

    Seems to me that Virginia Tech pulled a real coup here, and a full year later, is still considerably cheaper that anything else. And now, it's being used for real scientific work. To bring a whole new platform onto the scene in essentially under a year and break into the ranks of the supercomputing elite virtually overnight, and to do it significantly, and sometimes ridiculously, cheaper than everyone else, is a feat that can't be ignored.
    • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:14AM (#10763235)
      That was a close one... I was starting to worry that Apple might be dying again.
    • Re:Pizza arguments (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thpr ( 786837 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:17AM (#10763251)
      Before anyone says "Of course System X is cheaper! Virginia Tech had free student labor to put it together! They paid them in pizza!"

      No, my real question would be: What is the ongoing operating expenses of System X? After all, I'm interested in total cost of ownership, not in acquisition cost.

      • Re:Pizza arguments (Score:4, Interesting)

        by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:21AM (#10763273)
        I'm sure it would be similar to any Linux cluster in the top 10; there's no reason to believe it should be any different or require significantly different levels of system administration and maintenance.
        • power costs? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by CaptainPinko ( 753849 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:32AM (#10763332)
          adminstration and maintenance similar perhaps... but what about power?a few watts per core adds to a lot more heat PLUS the cost of cooling. i think it would be interesting if they printed a FLOP/$ per annum for each of the top 500. the cost of acquisition being spread evenly over the lifetime of the cluster.
          • Re:power costs? (Score:5, Informative)

            by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:45AM (#10763394)
            That's easy...the Xserve G5s consume a LOT less power (and therefore generate less heat, resulting in lower cooling costs) than any competitive products (Xeon, Itanium2, Opteron)...and this was true even when they were using the 970 (as opposed to the 970fx they are using now).

            Several of the researchers at Virginia Tech have referred to this in various news stories numerous times - one estimate was over two times less power than comparable systems.
            • Ok, this is just one of those things that bothers my proofreading brain. What exactly is "two times less" supposed to mean? Literally, it means that they should be shoving as much power back into the grid as these comparable systems. 'Cause "one time less" would be zero.

              Try "half as much." Damn, I hate grammar nazis like me.
            • What makes you think that 970 requires less power/cooling that (for example) Opteron does? I mean, 2.5Ghz G5 needs frigging liquid-cooling, whereas even the fastest A64/Opterons manage just fine with regural heatsinks and fans.
              • Your key mistake here is your use of the word "needs". The data I've seen indicates that the G5 draws an equivalent amount of power as comparable Intel and AMD systems. Also, the G5's in the x-servs are air cooled. I think they mostly liquid cool the dual 2.5 Ghz G5 just to keep the noise down.
                • Re:need? (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @05:55AM (#10764236)
                  Your key mistake here is your use of the word "needs". The data I've seen indicates that the G5 draws an equivalent amount of power as comparable Intel and AMD systems. Also, the G5's in the x-servs are air cooled. I think they mostly liquid cool the dual 2.5 Ghz G5 just to keep the noise down.

                  uh-huh. If G5 runs so cool, then surely they could have kept the original cooling-system for the 2.5GHz model, instead of going for an complicated liquid-cooling system? Really, why did they move from heatsink/fan to liquid-cooling? AFAIK the original G5's were already quiet. And looking at reviews such as this seems to suggest that the G5 does indeed run very hot. [computerworld.com]

                  And looking here and [arstechnica.com] here [amd.com] I can see this:

                  2.5GHz G5: 75-85C during load
                  2.2GHz Opteron: 48C during load

                  G5 runs cooler? Hardly.
      • Re:Pizza arguments (Score:4, Informative)

        by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:07AM (#10763509) Homepage
        I remember the power usage and heat generation was lower than the competition... they were able to save a lot of money on cooling systems by going with the G5's. That has to be saving them a lot of money day to day. I don't have the wattage numbers on hand right now, but I do remember G5's beating P4's, Opterons and especially Xeons, so there's no way Virgina Tech is paying what those x86 top ten people are in energy bills. The XServe's keep track of their fans and internal temperature, automatically letting the admin know when a machine is GOING TO FAIL and preemptively swap out faulty components before they cause serious damage to the systems. I don't know what sort of Apple Care that kind of system comes with, but I'm sure it's competitive with their consumer systems, I'd imagine any hardware failures are completely covered absolutely free for at least the first year, probably three or more if they pay Apple for any support.

        • Re:Pizza arguments (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The XServe's keep track of their fans and internal temperature, automatically letting the admin know when a machine is GOING TO FAIL,

          Huh? Very few of all the possible faults in a computer have any kind of temperature change associated with them. When a memory stick, a HD, a CPU, a system chip, a connector fails, you don't get any overheating. (You may get a slight temp decrease after the component has failed and stopped consuming power.)

          Your scenario only applies to failing fans and heatsinks prying th
        • Re:Pizza arguments (Score:3, Interesting)

          by LinuxHam ( 52232 )
          The XServe's keep track of their fans and internal temperature, automatically letting the admin know when a machine is GOING TO FAIL and preemptively swap out faulty components before they cause serious damage to the systems

          Just like the IBM xSeries servers I'm deploying right now. Our servers automatically order replacement components if/when components fail. This includes CPUs, memory, fans, hard drives.. just about anything. IBM big boxes have been doing this for decades, and distributed systems for a
      • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:08AM (#10763514) Journal
        200 pizzas a week. ;-)
      • Re:Pizza arguments (Score:5, Informative)

        by hernick ( 63550 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:20AM (#10763561)
        A major cost is power and cooling requirements. According to Apple, a single drive, dual processor 2.0GHz XServe will use about 250W peak. Virginia Tech has 2.3GHz machines and Infiniband PCI-X cards. There's also networking gear and other support equipment to consider. So, we'll use a high figure of 350W per node, giving us a 40% overhead. As for heat production, same overhead, 1200BTU/h per node.

        We're going to consider the worst-case scenario, under which we have a 100% load, year round, on all 1100 nodes. That gives us a power consumption of 385kW and 1320kBTU/h of heat generation.

        Now, we need to get rid of that heat, and that's going to require a lot of power. My research indicates up to 300kW may be required, but that's a high number and actual requirements may be lower.

        So, here we are, with 685kW required for power and cooling. That means a 6000MW/h a year.

        Now, the cost of power is high, since you need to amortize and maintain the UPS equipment and the generators. We'll use a figure of 0.15$/kW/h, or 150$/MW/h. Very generous.

        So here we are. The absolute worst case for power and cooling. Full load, year round, expensive cooling, overpriced power and amortized UPS and generators.

        900 000$/yr. Below a million. It's not that bad, is it ? The real cost is likely below a half-million.

        As for the rest, well, how much pizza is really required to entice graduate students and professors to work on that machine ?
        • Minor nitpick, but I have a Physics background, so accurate units are important to me - do you really mean MW/h, or do you mean MWh? That's a *huge* difference in energy consumption, depending on which you choose and how long the thing is running...

          (I'm assuming you meant MWh, as in "mega-watt-hours", of course)
    • by Richard Mills ( 17522 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:38AM (#10763361)
      You raise good points, and the team at Virginia Tech did do something remarkable. That said, cost per flop of the LINPACK benchmark is interesting but not particularly meaningful. For instance:

      "Another example is PNNL's 1936 processor Itanium2 cluster: 3.5Tflops less performance than System X, for $25 million"

      What is not captured by the LINPACK scores is that PNNL's machine will absolutely spank the BigMac cluster at what the PNNL machine is intended for: running computational chemistry codes such as NWChem. A lot of the cash for the PNNL machine went into large memories and fast I/O that simply does not show up in the LINPACK benchmark. Furthermore, there are a lot of very high-profile scientific publications that have come out of the computational chemistry abilities of the PNNL machine. That's something else extremely important that doesn't show up in the rankings.

      There are a lot of similar examples, but the PNNL one is one that I know something about, so I chose it. Basically, I'm saying to not read too much into those cost comparisons. It really is comparing Apples to oranges... er, HPs in this case. =)
    • You are comparing apples to oranges when all you look at is the total cost of the system. First of all, the VT computer doesn't have the same level of support as other computer installations. I can only speak directly of the PNNL computer, as until recently I was on the team of administrators on that computer, but we had a team of hardware engineers on site to handle any of the hardware problems that occur in the operation of the system. Second. the PNNL supercomputer has nearly a half a pedabyte of disk
    • Re:Pizza arguments (Score:3, Interesting)

      by adiposity ( 684943 )
      Well, I'm not going to disagree with anything you've posted here, but are we sure Apple charged these people anywhere near full price for the hardware? Just a question, I don't actually know the answer.

  • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:10AM (#10763209)
    5 of the 10 top machines use the Power archtecture, either the Power4 or PPC family.
    • And 8 of the top 25 by my count. Not bad at all--and quite a chance from the last few rankings, where Intel really ruled.
    • by Brett Johnson ( 649584 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:27AM (#10763300)
      It is actually 6 of the top 10, and 13 of the top 25.
    • by Brett Johnson ( 649584 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:45AM (#10763392)
      I think it is interesting that 11% of the top 500 are Power architecture, and 64% of the top 500 are intel based systems. Yet 50% of the top 10 are Power architecture and only 20% of the top 10 are intel architecture. Also interesting is that the Power based systems seem to have twice the Mflop/dollar ratio over the intel systems.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:40AM (#10763632)
        I think it is interesting that 11% of the top 500 are Power architecture, and 64% of the top 500 are intel based systems. Yet 50% of the top 10 are Power architecture and only 20% of the top 10 are intel architecture. Also interesting is that the Power based systems seem to have twice the Mflop/dollar ratio over the intel systems.

        That's because x86 is a horrible architecture. On top of that, x86 instructions are translated into microcode before they're executed, so you end up with an unknown (maybe you could ask the folks at Intergraph about it) architecture emulating a crappy architecture in hardware. Better architectures exist (ARM, MIPS, POWER, 68000, PA-RISC, toy architectures used in introductory computer architecture classes, everything else), but Intel won out in the marketplace. You can still get better chips, but you pay more and have less support.

        That's why you'd be better off investing in AMD over Intel. AMD hit upon what Intel should've done years ago. The x86-64, for those who don't know, supports x86 binaries as well as its own new architecture. Think of it like an x86 chip with the underlying hardware exposed. If Intel had exposed the hardware that x86 instructions get translated to, they'd have had a clear upgrade path instead of having to dork off x86 out of the blue. AMD embraced and extended x86, and marginalized its future without doing any actual damage to it or x86 users. It's flat out genius.

        In the meantime, almost anything performs better than x86, and with less power consumption. It makes those mini-ITX boards look like jokes, because instead of engineering a low powered MIPS board/processor, the VIA folks did another x86. It may have been good from a business point, but it's horrible from an engineering standpoint, and that sums up Intel and x86 fairly nicely.
  • Who has coffee? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:13AM (#10763228) Homepage
    It's nice that Off The Shelf boxes like Apple and Intel can make a super computer cluster. When do the stories stop? We know that if you put enough PCs together, you get a very powerful machine. What we should be looking at is cutting edge technology in specialized CPUs. Give me 10,000 vanilla boxes and some good custom software, but give me a cutting edge CPU designed for super computing, that's science. We already know that it is possible to fill a fucking building with Pentiums, or better 68000s.
    • Bah. At the end of the day, scientists actually want to compile a program and run it, without having to worry about some wacky experimental CPU architecture. Granted, some problems require innovative designs, but if the majority of your problems just require a room full of pentiums, well, whatever.
  • super computations? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:13AM (#10763232) Homepage Journal
    Earth Simulator spent a while at the top of the list - that's a lot of TFLOPs under the curve - a lot of seconds. What did it accomplish while it was king of the hill? How much Earth was simulated?
  • by dretay ( 583646 ) <drew.cs@umd@edu> on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:14AM (#10763234) Homepage
    I was down at Virginia Tech last year when I was looking at colleges. They would not let anyone near that computer. Even the guy who was giving the tour was complaining about the limited amount access Tech students were given. The main reason he cited was that the companies developing the supercomputer had technology that they didn't want people who had not signed NDA's to see. Anyway, the point was that while the computer may be owned by the university, students aren't even allowed to see what $5 million of their tuition bought.
  • Erm ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phoxix ( 161744 ) * on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:15AM (#10763243)
    What exactly did the Big Mac do anyways ?

    I can assume it was put to some sort of use. But I honestly get the feeling it was more to have fun, and look cool (which means more bling bling from sponsors, alumni, etc)

    Sunny Dubey
  • by BortQ ( 468164 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:17AM (#10763248) Homepage Journal
    IIRC then IBM just came out with their entry very recently. Perhaps they know how to play supercomputer sniping. It's easy to learn on ebay.
  • Funny MIPS (Score:4, Funny)

    by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:18AM (#10763252) Homepage Journal
    These numbers seem surreal, like thinking about Monopoly money. I'm sitting here at my old PII-300, analyzing the cost/power ratio of machines costing a mere $6M, or as much as $350M. This one cost, uh, nothing.

    On any one of those systems, you could emulate a Beowulf cluster of this one, and still have time to play Thermonuclear War.

  • I get a kick out of the fact that System X runs Mac OS X.

    Only with Mac OS X can you get the combination of commercial software (such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop), user friendliness, no known viruses, best available security, and stability/scalability suitable for world-class superclusters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:28AM (#10763308)
    The Earth Simulator computed that global warming will cause major climate change in the next 50 years.

    Clearly it suffers from liberal bias.
  • CPU benchmarks (Score:4, Informative)

    by 3770 ( 560838 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:30AM (#10763317) Homepage
    You can compare CPU benchmarks here [spec.org].

    AMD is beating the crap out of Intel.
    • Re:CPU benchmarks (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is the best specint AMD has to offer (yes, the fastest operon is slower):
      AMD Athlon (TM) 64 FX-55 1 core, 1 chip, 1 core/chip 1750 1854

      Here is the best intel:
      3.4 GHz, Pentium 4 Proce 1 core, 1 chip, 1 core/chip with HT Technology enabled 1667 1705

      Here are the best specfp numbers for AMD:
      AMD Athlon (TM) 64 FX-55 1 core, 1 chip, 1 core/chip 1741 1782

      Which just edges out the best Pentium
      3.6GHz Xeon) 1 core, 1 chip, 1 core/chip 1700 1721

      But gets b
    • Re:CPU benchmarks (Score:4, Informative)

      by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <rufus-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @04:47AM (#10764057) Homepage
      Usefull site for getting usable spec numbers is ace's SPECmine [aceshardware.com]. Try SPECint2000 or SPECfp2000 and check "CPU MHz". The opteron's fare quite nicely.
  • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:32AM (#10763329)
    Is there some fantasy supercomping league I don't know about?

  • I can't get the cost comparison link to work for one reason or another. But I was wondering if they were comparing current day cost, or the cost when the machine was built?

    I mean, the cost of processors has gone down significantly in the past several months, so a machine built a year ago with the same speed processors as a machine built today would cost much more.

    Not to mention that some of the machines on the list are most likely second (or greater) renditions of an earlier super computer, only with mor
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:46AM (#10763400)

    Now Apple markets good computers. Tend to be on the expensive side, but they are usually high quality.

    The Power970 is decent enough in itself. The opteron is more powerfull, but is also much more energy hungry. The Intel Itanium is nice but it's very expensive. etc etc

    But what is this worship of Apple? It makes no sense.

    Story 1: Earth simulator.. blah blah blah., but Mac cluster!

    Story 2: SGI supercluster.... blah blahblah, But Mac cluster!

    Story 3: Blue Gene cluster, 65000+ cpus... blah blah blah, but Mac cluster!

    Realy? Who gives a fvck about the 7th place computer, and who gives a damn about cost analysis at this point? What about the Top5?

    Did you know that Blue Gene is PowerPC?
    Did you know that Linux now runs the majority of top super computers...

    Did you know that Blue Gene proccessors only run a 700mhz??!!!

    Did you know that #4 is 3564 Power970's running at 2.2 ghz? And that beats out 4000+ Intanium2's running at 1.7ghz?

    This is a Geek site.. what about OSes?
    By ranking:
    1. Linux, 2. Linux, 3. Unix, 4. Linux, 5. Linux, 6. Unix, 7. OS X, 8. Linux, 9. Unix, 10. Linux (most powerfull x86 btw), 11. Unix, 12. Unix, 13. Linux, 14. ?, 15. Linux, 16. Linux, 17. Linux, 18. Linux, 19. Linux, 20. Unix.

    Were is the most powerfull Windows computer? Well there is one cluster that is probably still on the top500. I dare you to find it, though. It's probably around #200 or #300, which is stil freaking fast.

    Ok, So the big Mac is still #7. That's great, but there are 6 wonderfull computers that have all sorts of great technology that your completely ignoring because Apple wets your pants.

    Did you know that Blue Gene will eventually have over 65,000 proccessors??
  • by leapis ( 89780 ) * on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:06AM (#10763504)
    DB Error: connect failed

    Apparently, the top 500 list is not actually hosted on one of the top 500 machines.
  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <[snoopdoug] [at] [geekazon.com]> on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @03:04AM (#10763714) Homepage
    My computer is number 44,286,551 and I'm gunning hard for position 44,286,550.
  • Software (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mardak ( 795862 )
    It's not just about how fast the systems perform in linpack. The machines should be calculating something useful, and if you feed it inefficient code, it'll be going nowhere fast.

    Apple has created software development packages specifically designed for their G5's with optimized code for the 64bit architecture such as complex math functions.

    So not only is Apple providing a cheaper and power efficient system for academic institutes, they make it easier for professors and assistants to create the softwar
  • #4 is also academic (Score:3, Informative)

    by az4+h0th ( 651179 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @04:21AM (#10763992)
    Just a minor comment...

    I work at UPC and there has been a lot of hype here for machine #4, which is (or is going to be) a >4500 PPC970s machine running linux (nice work, ibm). I disagree with the claim that the Virgina Tech cluster is the first academic supercomputer. As far as I'm concerned the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) is also an academic institution.

    Anyway. we now got europe's fastest supercomputer. That's what matters. ha! ;-)
  • Well, I really am getting sick of this Apple fan-boyism. What is up with that? People here scratch their heads all day long and try to find some calculations that may show that Apple higher than the others even though the comparison is a just an apples to oranges comparison. One writes that Flops per $ for apple's are better? How the hell can they make a real comparison? Why dont they look at the Flops per CPU? What are the other hardware in those systems? Why dont they compare all the machines? Do they ha
    • by zpok ( 604055 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @06:52AM (#10764396) Homepage
      "Be a little more logical, open minded, less fanatic people."

      So we should say "It's really no achievement to have a supercomputer in a pricerange available to institutions other than military. The fact that they use Apple's G5 and OS X, an almost out of the box solution is totally irrelevant. If you like you can build your own courtesy of Virginia University, but who would want a supercomputer that's cheaper than the other twenty first contenders in the list of supercomputers. Remember, they're Apple, so they're crap. And expensive, whatever the calculations say. They must be. They're Apple. I repeat, they're Apple. Crap. Be realistic, don't be a fan-boy."

      Fan-boy indeed.
  • by tezza ( 539307 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @06:21AM (#10764304)
    Keeping track of the very high frequency of postings of these supercomputer rankings on Slashdot.

    Can I vote for a supercomputer thread so that I can elect to have it not displayed in my preference? I wouldn't want to miss out all the other tasty hardware goodness. I don't mind news about new Supercomputer technology, but whoever holds the most teraflops at a certain point in time is not of interest.

    http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/09/ 0126220&tid=137&tid=126&tid=181&tid=1
    November 9th, 2004

    http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/0 6/2239245&tid=136&tid=137&tid=14
    November 7th, 2004

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/03/161424 5&tid=137&tid=139&tid=1
    November 3rd, 2004

    http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/10/2 7/0147206&tid=137&tid=139&tid=14&tid=106
    October 26th, 2004

    http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/10/26/ 0636230&tid=137&tid=3
    October 26th, 2004

    http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/10/2 0/1727255&tid=137&tid=136&tid=14
    October 20th, 2004

  • by shiruf ( 785593 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @06:37AM (#10764353)
    Virginia Tech's 'System X' Xserve G5 cluster [...] remains the fastest supercomputer at an academic institution.
    Beg to differ: #4 is about 5 mins from home (by bus), in the northern campus of universitat politècnica de catalunya. And, yes, part of the institution, not some loaned space or something. Mind you, one wishes Spanish Universities involved their students a tenth as much. S-2.
  • We can toss around numbers all day, but these numbers are only meaningful in so far as they persuade the people who actually build supercomputers to copy the Big Mac design. I don't see anybody doing that, so it appears to me that the Big Mac, on the whole, is not very significant.
  • I've read a few posts on how Slashdot is taken hostage by Apple fanboys.

    So what I propose is that even when Apple related posts are few and far between, we should always add one of the following conclusions:
    1) Apple is still expensive, even if they're proven cheaper than the alternative.
    2) Apple is still slow compared to anything my cousin Ned can build in his back-yard.
    3) Jobs is an ass-hole.
    4) You know, any objective computer user has to acknowledge the simple truth: Apple sux and anyway is dead, gone an

To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three persons, two of them absent.