Linux continues to rule supercomputers

By   |  June 28, 2006

Linux has once again dominated the list of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. The 27th issue of the bi-annual Top500 list, released today, shows Linux accounting for 73.4% of the top 500 supercomputers, including the two fastest machines on the planet.

The Top500 list reports that Linux is installed on 367 of the 500 fastest supercomputers, with its cousin Unix coming in distant second with 98 supercomputers (19.6%). 24 supercomputers (4.8%) run a mixed environment, five run Apple Mac OS, four are BSD based, and only two run Microsoft Windows.

While Linux performed impressively, its growth is flat compared to the 26th Top500 report, which reported Linux as having 74.4% market share in November 2005. The June 2005 report, released a year ago, pegged Linux at 63.6%. However, only seven out of the top 10 in the last report ran Linux, compared to eight in this report.

Eight of the top 10 supercomputers run Linux, with IBM’s AIX Unix in the third spot and NEC’s Super-UX running the Earth Simulation Centre in Japan at number 10.

IBM dominated the list, taking the top three spots with the IBM Blue Gene eServer accounting for spots one and two. IBM takes up almost half the list – 48.6% – with its closest rival, HP, at 30.8%. IBM had more than 1.5 petaflops of the list’s aggregate performance total of 2.791 petaflops, more than three times the total throughput of nearest rival HP. IBM systems accounted for four of the top 10 machines on the list. IBM also had 55 of the top 100 systems.

In terms of processors, Intel is at the heart of 301 of the 500 systems. Intel’s EM64T-based processors proved very successful in the high performance computing market place, with 118 systems using them already. AMD’s Opteron processors are also steadily and rapidly gaining ground, now with 81 systems using them compared to only 25 systems one year ago.

The US is clearly the leading consumer of HPC systems with 298 of the 500 systems. The European share continues to decline with now 83 systems down from 100 six month ago, while Asia mounted a turn-around with now 93 systems up from 66 six month ago.

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