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Community: Top 500 Supercomputers Increasingly Turning to Linux and Open Source

Jun 10, 2004, 04:00 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Imran William Smith)

[ Thanks to Imran William Smith for this article. ]

The top 500 list of supercomputers is published every six months. The last publication was in November 2003, the next will be later this month.

I decided to investigate how many of the very fastest of these machines use Linux or another Open Source operating system. Is Open Source really leading innovation in this area? Unfortunately, it's the one bit of information that's not included on the top500 web pages themselves.

However, a bit of digging quickly reveals the results. Here's the results of my investigation. Please note that most of this information is from the list itself, I have just added information about the operating system and a reference URL.

In summary, 3 of the top 5 use an open source OS, 5 of the top 10, and 7 of the top 20. Almost all open source OS used are Linux, with the brief exception of 1 Mac OS X. It's interesting how IBM and HP, for all their promotion of open source, prefer to sell their proprietary operating systems with the high-end hardware. Will that change? Apparently, Linux can run on the pSeries 690, which has 3 of the top 20 slots.

Soon, this table will need updating, based on the June top500 list. If recent press releases are to be believed, Linux will take even more of the top slots.

Rank (Nov 2003)
Site
Country/Year
Computer / Processors
Manufacturer
Operating System
1
Earth Simulator Center
Japan/2002
Earth-Simulator / 5120
NEC
Super-UX (proprietary)
2
Los Alamos National Laboratory
United States/2002
ASCI Q - AlphaServer SC45, 1.25 GHz / 8192
HP
Unknown
(suspect proprietary)
3
Virginia Tech
United States/2003
X
1100 Dual 2.0 GHz Apple G5/Mellanox Infiniband 4X/Cisco GigE / 2200
Self-made
Mac OS X
(open source)
4
NCSA
United States/2003
Tungsten
PowerEdge 1750, P4 Xeon 3.06 GHz, Myrinet / 2500
Dell
Red Hat Linux
(open source)
5
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
United States/2003
Mpp2
Integrity rx2600 Itanium2 1.5 GHz, Quadrics / 1936
HP
Red Hat Linux
(open source)
6
Los Alamos National Laboratory
United States/2003
Lightning
Opteron 2 GHz, Myrinet / 2816
Linux Networx
Linux
(open source)
7
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
United States/2002
MCR Linux Cluster Xeon 2.4 GHz - Quadrics / 2304
Linux Networx/Quadrics
Linux
(open source)
8
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
United States/2000
ASCI White, SP Power3 375 MHz / 8192
IBM
AIX
(proprietary)
9
NERSC/LBNL
United States/2002
Seaborg
SP Power3 375 MHz 16 way / 6656
IBM
AIX
(proprietary)
10
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
United States/2003
xSeries Cluster Xeon 2.4 GHz - Quadrics / 1920
IBM/Quadrics
Unknown, presume AIX (proprietary)
11
National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan
Japan/2002
PRIMEPOWER HPC2500 (1.3 GHz) / 2304
Fujitsu
Solaris
(proprietary)
12
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
United States/2001
AlphaServer SC45, 1 GHz / 3016
HP
Tru64
(proprietary)
13
NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research)
United States/2003
pSeries 690 Turbo 1.3 GHz / 1600
IBM
AIX
(proprietary)
14
Chinese Academy of Science
China/2003
DeepComp 6800, Itanium2 1.3 GHz, QsNet / 1024
Legend
Red Hat Linux
(open source)
15
Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA)
France/2001
AlphaServer SC45, 1 GHz / 2560
HP
Tru64
(proprietary)
16
HPCx
United Kingdom/2002
pSeries 690 Turbo 1.3GHz / 1280
IBM
AIX
(proprietary)
17
Forecast Systems Laboratory - NOAA
United States/2002
Aspen Systems, Dual Xeon 2.2 GHz - Myrinet2000 / 1536
HPTi
Linux
(open source)
18
Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO)
United States/2002
pSeries 690 Turbo 1.3GHz / 1184
IBM
AIX
(proprietary)
19
Government
United States/2003
Cray X1 / 252
Cray Inc.
UNICOS/mp
(proprietary)
20
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
United States/2003
Cray X1 / 252
Cray Inc.
UNICOS/mp
(proprietary)

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