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Supercomputing Hardware

25th TOP500 List Released 274

Chris Vaughan writes "The 25th edition of the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers was released today (June 22, 2005) at the 20th International Supercomputing Conference (ISC2005) in Heidelberg Germany. The No. 1 position was again claimed by the previously mentioned BlueGene/L System. At present, IBM and Hewlett-Packard sell the bulk of systems at all performance levels of the TOP500. The U.S is clearly the leading consumer of HPC systems with 294 of the 500 systems installed there (up from 267 six months ago)."
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25th TOP500 List Released

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  • Derived Moore's Law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OlivierB ( 709839 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:17PM (#12882239)
    It would be great if we could verify Moore's law through some simple stats using the histrical data from this Top500 list.
    -For example:How many years did it take for Number ones on average to be dropped off the 500 list?

    - How many years after the list was published did it take personal computers tu make it in the 500list? To make it to the number 1 spot?

    - How many transistors did these computers have? Did it verify Moore's law?

    - Are we getting more TFLOPS per watt now? Per transistor?

  • surprsing to me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by udderly ( 890305 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:23PM (#12882304)
    What's surprising to me is that Cray used to be synonymous with supercomputers and they now have comparatively few entries.
  • Wrong criterion? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:40PM (#12882453)
    MareNostrum wins hands down for best looking computer room [bsc.org.es]/
  • by bnavarro ( 172692 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @01:52PM (#12882572)
    Personally, I don't think that Human brains are binary based, logic gate controlled computation machines, and this difference accounts for why we have so much diffuclty with developing strong AI on them.

    I do believe, however, that we will eventually "crack the code" to the fundamental archetecture of our brains, and once we do that, we will re-design our computers accordingly, and finally achieve strong AI.

    I also believe, that our currently architected computers will play a key role in assisting us with cracking this code.
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @02:30PM (#12882978)
    Despite all this computing power, computers still can't think like humans. They can perform calculations faster, but can't perform optimized heuristics or even form optimized heuristics like humans.

    That's probably because brains use a completely different architecture than digital computers. Neurons connect in a highly parallel fashion, with trillions simultaneous of connections arranged in 3D directly between various parts of the brain. Even with the 1000000X speed advantage of computer logic, the number of permutations of neuron connections compared with the serial nature of computer buses allows the brain to outpower computers on many real-world problems.

    Because they are full of narrow bottelneck data paths, computers rely heavily on locality of reference and precomputed indices to do anything efficiently. A brain, with a storage architecture approaching fully associative memory, can instantly compare any input against a lifetime of experiences with no need for predefined indices. It is somehow able to use high-level concepts as access keys as well, in contrast to the binary numbers that computers must use to address storage.

    The result of all of this is that for many tasks like navigation in the real world, a cockroach brain compares favorably to the most powerful current digital computers.

  • Top 10 observation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MirrororriM ( 801308 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @03:37PM (#12883709) Homepage Journal
    I didn't bother going any further than the top 10, but when asked by a co-worker "wow...none are running Windows and most are using Linux"...and not to sound like a total linux geek or windows basher, but none of the top 10 are running windows. Reason: Microsoft charges much more for multiple processor support for their OS.

    BlueGene/L - eServer Blue Gene Solution Livermore, United States Processors: 65536

    It would astronomically increase the cost of the cluster. Windows 2003 Enterprise edition only handles up to 8 processors (and 32 gigs of ram), so any more than that, and you'll have to buy the OS over and over again (my assumption) - 8192 times that is... ( 65536 total processors / 8 processors per Windows install )

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluat ion/overview/enterprise.mspx [microsoft.com]

    Microsoft 2003 Enterprise Server (up to 25 clients) $1,899.00 - Quick Froogle search...

    8192 * $1,899.00 = $15,556,608.00

    Imagine how much more you could add to your cluster for that kind of cash...

    If I'm off-base or wrong in my assumptions, please correct me as this even suprised me after doing the quick research!

  • by mkosma ( 878701 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @03:47PM (#12883835)
    God, this makes me miss *lisp and my CM-2. With supercomputing being taken over by Big Blue and the like, there seems little room anymore for the smaller, more flexible players like Thinking Machines [wikipedia.org].
  • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @04:25PM (#12884271)
    Hmm, we have:
    1)bomb research
    2)proof of concept
    3)aeronautics research
    4)climatology research
    5)general science research
    6)astronomy research
    7)bomb research
    8)biology research
    9)computer science research
    10)bomb research

    So, unlike five years ago most of the large supercomputers (published on the list) are used for scientific research rather than making and maintaining big bombs. Personally I'd say that's real progress, but I have to thank the government for keeping the industry going through what were otherwise some hard times.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin