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Ad's Corner - a monthly analysis of top500 supercomputing

Each month, an issue in supercomputing or an important event or news item will be discussed. Point your web browser each month to the top500 web site and watch the HPC industry change over time. Comments or suggestions? Please drop me an e-mail.
Ad Emmen


December 2000
 New Dutch National Supercomputer inaugurated
The new Dutch National Supercomputer, a 1024 processor SGI 3000, has been inaugurated. The Netherlands National Computing Facilities Foundation, a foundation under the umbrella of the Dutch National Science foundation and responsible for the selection of the machine, also did celebrate its tenth anniversary.
 Full article...


November 2000
 Germany still Europe's number one in supercomputing
The most powerful supercomputer in Europe, is located at LRZ in Munich. In number of systems, Germany leads Europe with 55 systems in the TOP500 of the most powerful systems in the world, followed by the UK (34) and France (29). As usual, Europeans by both Japanese and US machines at the same distribution as world wide: 10% Japanese and 90% USA made supercomputers. In the USA almost 100% of the machines is mad-in-the-USA. while in Japan it is 50% Japanese and 50% US manufactured systems. Again, Luxembourg has the largest number of supercomputers per person: one for each 150.000 inhabitants.
 Full article...


October 2000
 U.S. Navy selects SGI Origin 3000 systems
The U.S. Navy's Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) in Monterey, Calif., has purchased two SGI Origin 3000 series systems utilising the breakthrough SGI NUMAflex technology. A 128-processor SGI Origin 3800 machine is slated for delivery in October 2000, and a 512-processor SGI Origin 3800 system will be installed in spring 2001. FNMOC, the Department of Defense's primary supercomputer processing centre for operational numerical weather and ocean prediction, is converting over from Cray C90 technology to the SGI Origin 3000 series based on the highly scalable NUMAflex modular computing architecture.
 Full article...


September 2000
 Superdome should keep HP in TOP500
Although not in the upper regions, HP has a strong presence in the TOP500 with its V-class servers and clusters. The newly introduced Superdome should reassure this position for the next few years. Superdome comes with a maximum of 64 processors and 256 Gbyte of memory. It can be clustered to a total of 512 processors. Although interesting for technical computing too, HP main target markets are large dotcom companies, and commercial applications.
 Full article...


August 2000
 NSF Awards $45 Million to Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center for 6 Tflop/s supercomputer next year
The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has been awarded $45 million from the National Science Foundation to provide "terascale" computing capability for U.S. researchers in all science and engineering disciplines. Through this award, PSC will collaborate with Compaq Computer Corporation to create a new, extremely powerful system for the use of scientists and engineers USA-wide.
 Full article...


July 2000
 To start a supercomputer company it only takes two brothers - Swiss Dalco delivers 500 processor system to ETH Zuerich
The ETH Zuerich has installed a large Linux cluster that will be expanded later this month to 500 processors, 250 Gbyte of memory and 2 Tbyte of data. Because the machine is worth more that 1.5 million Swiss Francs, European regulations require an open tender that has to adhere to strict rules. So who won this tender? One of the big supercomputer companies you would assume. Not so, a small Swiss company Dalco employing 8 people but with a yearly turnover in the 10 million Franc range, solved the legal issues, the technical problems, convinced the ETH they could do the job, and offered the lowest price. Hence the cluster, called Asgard, was installed by the company of Christian and Francois Dallman. The cluster runs Linux, provided by SuSe which has a number of additional tools for running a cluster and supporting parallel programmes.
 Full article...


June 2000
 Combining information on supercomputers from several sources with XML - an example using the TOP500 and the "Overview of recent Supercomputers"
There are many sources of information on supercomputers available. One of the most important ones is the TOP500 list of most powerful supercomputers in the world. It contains data on the position in the TOP500, the performance and where the machine is located. Another source is the "Overview of recent supercomputers" that contains a description of the supercomputer systems available, with system parameters, and benchmark information. With XML-technology we have combined information from the two sources to generate a new document, containing a description of each architecture, extended with a sub list of the TOP500 on that machine. The new document is generated with XSL-Transformation-stylesheets, that leave the original sources untouched. When there is a new version of for instance the TOP500, running the stylesheet is enough to generate a new, updated version of the assembled information document.
 Full article...


May 2000
 Hitachi SR8000 F1 at LRZ operational - over 1 Tflop/s of raw LinPack performance
Hitachi has successfully installed the Hitachi SR8000 F1 at the Leibniz Rechnenzentrum in Munich Germany. Currently the machine is undergoing its final stability test during 30 days of operation. In a throughput benchmark, the machine showed a sustained performance of 424 Gflop/s. LRZ expects that in the next TOP500 list that will be published in June at the Mannheim Supercomputer Conference, the machine will end close to the top 3, after the big US national centres.
 Full article...


April 2000
 Swiss supercomputer centre to become a science & technology centre
The NEC SX-5 at the Swiss supercomputer centre CSCS could well be the last of the vector computers there. In a recently published document "High Performance Computing Technology Trends in Relation to the Swiss Center for Scientific Computing CSCS", it is concluded that to keep up with the performance demands posed on a national supercomputer centre, CSCS will probably have to turn to a massively parallel processor system for the next generation, even though these machines are much harder to program. Furthermore the report suggests CSCS should change from service centre to science and technology centre, strengthening its R & D activities.
 Full article...


March 2000
 CEA installs 5 Tflop/s machine next year - by then biggest supercomputer in Europe
The "Direction des applications militaires (DAM)" from the French atomic agency CEA will install next year a 5 Tflop/s peak Compaq/QSW machine with over 2500 processors. To date this is the largest machine planned to be installed in Europe. The new supercomputer, that will be used for numerical simulations of nuclear arms, will be expanded into the 100 Tflop/s performance range in 2009.
 Full article...


February 2000
 New Tflop/s SGI SN-1 for Dutch research
The Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO) has decided to install a new Dutch national supercomputer. The new 1024 processor SGI SN-1 with Tflop/s performance, will propel The Netherlands back in the top 10 of most powerful machines in the world. The SN-1 next-generation Origin machine will be operational in November this year at the SARA computer centre in Amsterdam. The new supercomputer will replace a Cray C90 supercomputer currently in use by Dutch academic researchers for scientific, technical and medical applications. The total value of the contract is approximately 14 million euro.
 Full article...


January 2000
  Fastest European made supercomputer inaugurated
The fastest supercomputer "made in Europe", the 192 processor hpcLine at PC2 at the University of Paderborn, was inaugurated on November 11. In the TOP500 list, presented by Hans Meuer at the inaguration meeting, the machine is listed at position 351. The machine is not only used for "traditional" supercomputer applications, but also for rendering services and airline scheduling.
 Full article...


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