European supercomputers muscle in on top 500 list


The top two supercomputers are still holding onto their places in the TOP500 chart, which lists the best supercomputers in the world.

However two of the top 10 places on the list have been taken by new systems in Germany, breaking into the historically US-dominated arena.

The list itself is compiled by four leading tech academics; Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Top spot of the TOP500 went to the Roadrunner system at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory with 1.105 petaflop/s. It was built by IBM and is quoted as "one of the most energy efficient systems on the TOP500" in a statement released alongside the list.

Second place stays with the Cray XT5 Jaguar system installed at the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

But third place was taken by a new system, the IBM BlueGene/P system known as JUGENE. It is installed at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany and has so far achieved 825.5 teraflop/s on the Linpack benchmarks, which all of the systems are measured against.

The other new entry to the top 10 is also based at Forschungszentrum Juelich called JUROPA. This system has reached 274.8 teraflop/s and is made out of Bull Novascale and Sun SunBlade x6048 servers.

In addition to the independent systems, figures were released about the companies who build them. HP was said to have the highest market share, narrowly beating IBM, however IBM was deemed superior when it came to performance.

Quadcore processors have also made their mark on the list, being used in 383 of the systems and Intel processors are being used in almost 78 per cent of the systems chosen.

The list is issued twice a year and this is the 33rd in its history.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.