A Five-Year Quick Comparison of the Top500 & Green500

top 500 logoThe Top500 list started in June 1993, making the recent June 2018 ranking its 25th anniversary. The Top500 list ranks installed high performance computing systems by computational power.

Green 500 logo

In November 2007 the Green500 list started ranking installed high performance computing systems by energy efficiency or “FLOPS-per-Watt”.

The Top500 website is great for anyone who loves numbers. The website has current and past ranking lists along with its own data analyzer that you can utilize. What I find amazing are the changes witnessed in the Top500 & Green500 lists in just the last five years.

 

USA – China

Big news this year is USA regaining the #1 Top500 spot with Summit, an IBM-built supercomputer installed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Summit system is based on IBM P9 processors, along with NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. In recent years, the USA has dropped in the rankings; five years ago the USA was a leader with just over 50% of the Top500 systems installed, and China had only 13%. Now, roles have changed, with the the USA at 25% (only 124 systems) and China at 41%.

 

Who’s building these systems?

In 2013, HPE and IBM dominated the number of installed systems, with a combined 70% share. Now, Lenovo enjoys the top spot followed by HPE, Inspur, Sugon, and Cray all having 10% or more.

 

A little speed please…

Intel still dominates as the processor of choice for the Top500. But how to make a processor go faster?  Use an accelerator or GPU like NVIDIA offers. NVIDIA dominates the accelerator space, increasing its installed share from 70% in 2013 to over 80% now. Also noticeable are Intel and ATI dropping vs. 2013 rankings and the addition of PEZY in 2018.

 

Not easy being green

On the Green500 side, for June 2018, PEZY took the top three rankings, followed by NVIDIA and IBM. The #1 system, Shoubu System B, is ranked at an efficiency of 18.4 gigaflops/watt. That is an almost a 6x increase from the June 2013 #1 system from Eurotech, which came in at 3.21 gigaflops/watt.

 

How will the Top500 change in the next five years?

The Top500 highlights that dominance by a specific company or country can change in a brief amount of time. Another data point is that a relatively small company like PEZY can demonstrate state-of-the-art performance and rival the most established companies. The next five years is sure to surprise us with changes (new entrants, technologies, etc.) but, for sure, computational power and efficiency performance will continue to increase.

Rankings for the Top500 & Green500 occur every June and November. The next ranking will coincide with The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (or simply called SC18), to be held in Dallas, Texas in November this year. I encourage you to go to the Top500 website to check out additional information on the Top500 and Green500.

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