AMD takes top three places in supercomputer list

Opterons have won all podium places in a global speed race, although Intel powers most of the remaining 497

AMD has claimed the top three spots in the latest list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

The 34th edition of the TOP500 list, which is published twice annually by US and German computing academics, came out on Friday. It will be formally presented on Tuesday at the SC09 supercomputing conference in Portland, Oregon.

The top spot in the list was taken by the Cray XT5 supercomputer, also known as 'Jaguar', at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Jaguar is based on AMD's six-core, 2.6GHz Opteron processors and has 224,162 cores. Upgraded earlier this year, it can achieve a 1.75 petaflop-per-second performance speed running the Linpack benchmark — a measure of a system's floating point computing power.

In second place was IBM's 'Roadrunner' supercomputer, which previously held the top spot. Housed in the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, this BladeCenter QS22 Cluster uses 1.8GHz Opteron processors and has 122,400 cores, producing a maximum performance speed of 1.04 petaflops per second.

Third place was taken by the 2.6GHz Opteron-based 'Kraken' Cray XT5 supercomputer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences in Tennessee.

The top-performing Intel-based supercomputer, the Tianhe-1 at the National SuperComputer Center in Tianjin, China, came in at number five, behind the IBM Blue Gene/L- based Jugene supercomputer at Germany's Jülich Research Centre.

The Tianhe-1, a hybrid system, uses Xeon E5540 and E5450 processors, boosted by AMD graphics processing units performing as accelerators. It has 71,680 cores and provides a maximum performance speed of 563 teraflops (0.56 petaflops) per second.

Although AMD provided the processors for the fastest systems in the Top500 list, 80.4 percent of the systems in the list used Intel processors. 10.4 percent used IBM Power processors, and 8.4 percent used AMD Opteron processors.