According to the most recent TOP500 rating, almost two thirds of the 500 most high-performance supercomputers in the world use Intel-based processors. The 25th research of the famous TOP500 rating just confirmed what we already knew - Intel platform is winning its place in the sun faster than ever.
The research showed that today 333 out of total of 500 world fastest supercomputers are Intel-based, whereas only five years ago this ratio was a minuscule 4 out of 500. The top three places in the new TOP500 list are taken by the 32- and 64-bit Intel® Xeon processors (254 systems) and Intel® Itanium® 2 (79 systems). The 64-bit Intel processors, released just a year ago, are already used in 77 supercomputers from the TOP500 list.
Intel processors are now powering computers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, which is based on 2,500 Intel Xeon processors; Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, which uses 2,048 Intel Itanium 2 processors; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which employs 1,936 Intel Itanium 2 processors. This is a truly unique achievement of the Intel Corporation.
However, Intel's top officials see nothing surprising in the happening. "Intel architecture's rapid rise in supercomputing reflects the acceptance of the benefits of Intel's standards-based building-block approach with its benefits of reduced design time and cost effectiveness versus the proprietary methods," says Abhi Talwalker, Intel vice president and general manager, Enterprise Platforms Group. "Using off-the-shelf components, supercomputers that used to take years to build can now be constructed in a matter of months with Intel Itanium or Xeon processors at a fraction of the cost. It's a trend that hasn't been missed by the industry as supercomputing, once the sole province of well-funded scientific pursuits, is now within the realm of a wide variety of disciplines."
Just a single example of the dramatic importance of this Intel's step can be given: a Silicon Graphics Columbia system, based upon the Intel Itanium 2 architecture and holding its tenth place in the TOP500 list, remains one of the primary tools of astronaut training and spaceship testing used by the NASA specialists. Kirk Skaugen, chief manager of the Intel's Server Platforms department, expressed his deep satisfaction on the occasion, saying one of Intel's primary goals has ever been simplifying scientific research around the world by introduction of the powerful yet easily available computers. Just several years ago, he said, no one could even imagine that universities, companies as well as government organizations will have an opportunity to buy the cutting-edge high-performance supercomputers, making more than a trillion calculations per second. Now it's reality.
The semi-annual TOP500 list of supercomputers is the work of Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee. The complete report is available at www.top500.org.