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Top 500 supers - rise of the Linux quad-cores

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North America v the world

Japanese server makers NEC and Hitachi have three machines each on the list and their commitment to the supercomputing space has been shaken by their financial performance in the past year, which has lead to the two companies to walk away from the Project Keisoku hybrid vector-scalar, 10 petaflops supercomputer project, which aimed to put the indigenous three Japanese server makers (including Fujitsu) to work on the $1.2bn project.

In July, Fujitsu was given the whole Project Keisoku contract, based on its future "Venus" eight-core Sparc64-VIIIfx processors. Fujitsu has five boxes on the list, with 33,688 total cores and 318.7 total teraflops.

Of the 500 machines on the list, 479 of them are made by vendors that are headquartered in North America, with 11 coming from vendors located in Europe (including the T-Platforms Xeon X5570 cluster installed at Moscow State University, which is rated at 350.1 teraflops). Another nine boxes are made in Asia and two are designated "global" in terms of their source because vendors involved in the creation of the supers hail from different countries.

The geography of where the machines end up (as opposed to where they come from) is interesting, particularly considering the politics of supercomputing. (There's a lot of chest puffing in HPC, and there always has been.) On the November list, 287 of the Top 500 supers are installed in the Americas, which is 57 per cent of the base of boxes and 60.5 percent of the 27.95 petaflops of total performance on the list.

Europe is home to 152 machines and 26.6 per cent of the aggregate floating point capacity on the list. Within Europe, the United Kingdom is the leading country on the Top 500 list (as it tends to be) with 45 boxes, followed by Germany and France with 27 boxes each. Asia hosts 51 boxes, which is 10.2 per cent of the base, and 3.31 petaflops, which is 11.8 percent of the oomph. China has 21 systems from the list, Japan has 16 systems, and India has three. Oceania has nine boxes and Africa has one.

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