Top500 Rumor Mill

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top500Those that track the Top500 list are most certainly awaiting the latest summer release from Germany. Given that there have been several large announcements surrounding big compute in the previous six months, we decided to throw together a series of rumor propositions regarding some possible shakeups in the top ten.

The most obvious contender for the top 10 is the Ranger system housed with our friends at TACC. Regardless of how one feels about AMD, quad core methodologies, Sun Microsystems or Infiniband; you simply can’t ignore 62,000 scalar cores. If they can eek out 70% of peak performance, they should do quite well on the list. [Keep in mind, Goto spends his days here].

Argonne has taken ownership of a new BlueGene/P. Again, regardless on what your opinion is of the IBM BlueGene architecture, they perform well on Linpack. They still hold four of the top ten spots.

We’ve mentioned Sun and IBM, but what about the Purple People Eater, SGI? More specifically, what happened to Columbia? For residents of Mars, Columbia is the fabled system located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Center in Mountain View, California. This Itanium behemoth broke 10,000 cores before it was fashionable to do so. Word is, they’ve completed an initial upgrade to Columbia with a few Altix 4700. To complement the upgrade, they’ve rerun Linpack across the entire cluster. This could prove to be fairly impressive.

The most interesting of rumors we’ve had filling our inbox is in regard to Los Alamos National Lab’s RoadRunner hybrid system. For those n00b readers out there, RoadRunner is working on its third phase of integrating AMD Opteron and IBM Cell processors. LANL and IBM had some pain with initially integrating an untested platform, but insiders say they’ve made it over the initial hurdles. Word on the grapevine is, they’re poised to take the number one spot away from their LLNL brethren.

Not specifically mentioned [mostly due to lack of information] are systems in China, Oak Ridge, DoD MSRCs and GFDL. All of these locations have taken delivery of large systems since the previous Top500 deadline. No word on how well these integrations are proceeding.

Regardless of your leanings regarding compute architectures, keep a keen eye this June when the new list is released.


  1. […] Top500 Rumor Mill […]

  2. […] the new peak performance rate has jumped to 263 Tflops.  If you’ve been following our coverage on the Top500 rumor mill, we failed to quote this system for the list of newly procured/upgraded […]


  1. NCSA does not have a BG/P that is at Argonne. It is a DOE machine and is not in anyway connected to Blue Waters, which is an IBM HPCS machine and an NSF project.

  2. Rich Hickey says

    It’s a sad commentary on the world of HPC when my computer gets thrown down the Top500 list like it’s a cliff.

    Only a year old and my tennis court sized, 11k+ processor Cray won’t even make the top 20. It’s a travesty I tell you!

    You all can go away. I’m taking my HECToR Toy and going home!!! I don’t wanna play no more! Pththththt!!!! 🙂


  3. John Leidel says

    Thanks to both of you for your comments. Anon, I’ve made the changes to the post regarding your fix.

    Rich… nanner nanner nanner!

  4. The oldest computers on the November 2007 Top500 are 3 computers that have the whopping age of 5. Yes, five whole years old!

    #30 (amazingly) The Earth Simulator at 35.8 Tflops
    #91 (in the top 100 still) LANL ASCI Q at 13.88 Tflops
    #331 NERSC/LBNL an IBM SP at 7.3 Tflops.

    We had 5 four year olds and 10 three year olds that made the list. That’s it. So, if your system is over the age of three you have less than a 4% chance you’re still on the list.

    The moral of the story? Brag fast, you’ve got a VERY limited shelf life.