More than half the world's most powerful computers run on Linux (1 Viewer)

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#1
Go back more than a few years ago and Linux had zero representation among the world's fastest supercomputers, which relied on traditional, monolithic mainframe machines running Unix or other operating systems. In the last few years, however, the open source operating system has begun dominating the list, thanks to clustering and Intel hardware in the supercomputing market.

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List co-compiler and one of the original editors of the 12-year-old Top 500 Fastest List Erich Strohmaier told NewsForge that although there were no Linux systems when the list started and only a few at the most five years ago, Linux is now clustering its way to the top.

"The representation of Linux in the Top 500 list has increased quite a bit in the last few years," Strohmaier said. "The number of cluster systems has increased strongly in the last three to four years from a few to more than half the list," he added, referring to 280 cluster systems on the latest list, released Monday.

Japan's Earth Simulator Center remains the world's fastest supercomputer, according to the Top 500 list. The United States owns the second- through fifth-fastest computers in the world.

Strohmaier said that although list creators, who use the Linpack benchmark to measure performance of the world's biggest and baddest machines, do not break down systems by operating system, a look at the number of clusters is a good gauge of the number of Linux systems.

"Most run on one flavor of Linux or another," Strohmaier said. "We don't have precise numbers, but almost every one is running Linux."

Strohmaier also said that IBM, which took the top vendor crown from HP in the latest round, held three of the top five positions with high performance cluster systems, which are used in academic, government, and other supercomputing research.

Given its gains already, other operating system advancements, and the fact that some high-performance jobs are better suited to more traditional supercomputers, Strohmaier said the clustering cavalcade will eventually slow down.

Based on the last list of the Top 500 from the end of last year, industry analyst and Harvard Research Group vice president of Linux strategy Bill Claybrook estimated there were about 170 Linux systems in the Top 500.

As has been the case in industry, Linux is filling the slots previously occupied by Unix systems, such as the SuperDome systems, which have dropped off as Linux has risen, according to Claybrook.

In addition to cluster systems from IBM, HP, Dell, and other manufacturers, Linux has also been used in other systems by SGI and others using Itanium 2 or Xeon processors from Intel, Claybrook said.

The analyst tied the Linux gains on the Top 500 to those of Intel, which provided processing power for 119 systems a year ago, 189 systems six months ago, and a total of 287 systems in the latest list.

"That tells you right there that Linux is dominating," Claybrook said, referring to Itanium 2 and Xeon processors. "Most of those Intel machines are running Linux."

Of Intel's 287 systems on the list, 243 are clusters of some kind and almost all, if not all of them, are running Linux, Claybrook estimated.

"It's growing rapidly, and I think it's going to continue," Claybrook said, referring to the price/performance advantage of the open source operating system. "Eventually, I think you'll find Linux is going to replace everything on the Top 500 list."

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From huge clusters to scaled down embedded devices like your cell phone, Linux has it covered. Pretty cool, huh? :cool:
 

BigIzz

Senior Member
Jul 12, 2002
1,088
#3
Most of the others run UNIX I'd imagine, a few probably run some sort of Windows. Virgina Tech recently built one of the 5 biggest supercomputers of of G5 macs. The US Department of Defense is doing the same actually. A very economical way to do it. That's UNIX though.

And then there was the school the built a supercomputer out pf Playstation 2's, but that was running Linux I'm sure.
 
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Martin

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#4
Frankly it's very hard to imagine any of those running Windows. I very much doubt it. More likely, I think, they have some sort of special os that isn't Unix and made specifically for the purpose of running the cluster.

Macs, huh? I hear the newest OSX will replace its freebsd kernel with a linux one. Not bad. :cool:
 

#10

Senior Member
Jul 28, 2002
6,814
#5
sooner or later the majority (including myself) will switch to linux...why?? cos microsoft are clearly milking us for the money, producing often shite system, such as xp....at first i toght it was good, but to be frank i think its full of loop hole and problems that are jus a pain in the arse.
 
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Martin

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#6
Sorry John, that's just wishful thinking. The majority will stick with Windows simply because that is what they are being jammed down their throat and most of them don't even know there are alternatives.
 

BigIzz

Senior Member
Jul 12, 2002
1,088
#7
Actually 2 of the top 60 run windows, although they are the only 2 in the top 500. I knew I remembered seeing it. :p

http://www.top500.org/list/2003/06/ (thats a year old now, I think the site for the updated one is down at the moment).

The Apple one is the most interesting. Using 1,100 G5's it only cost $5.2 million, where the Earth Simulator cost like $350 million.
 

#10

Senior Member
Jul 28, 2002
6,814
#8
++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
Sorry John, that's just wishful thinking. The majority will stick with Windows simply because that is what they are being jammed down their throat and most of them don't even know there are alternatives.
martin, i reckon sooner or later we will all get fed up, like me and take the smarter alternative.
 
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Martin

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#9
++ [ originally posted by BigIzz ] ++
Actually 2 of the top 60 run windows, although they are the only 2 in the top 500. I knew I remembered seeing it. :p
They do? :eek: How the hell is that possible? In a vm? ;)
 

BigIzz

Senior Member
Jul 12, 2002
1,088
#12
Actually the server that ran my colleges network (probably 4,000+ computers) was apparently using some 5 year old Windows server software, you can imagine how well the internet worked there.
 
Jan 7, 2004
29,704
#15
i am happy (or sad) to announce that toronto will open the first retail store dedicated only to linux. or maybe it is just the first in North america or canada. something like that.
 

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#16
I really must install it this year. Any recommendations on the easiest to start with? I'd settle for a reasonably complex one if it had great help files.
 

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