Feeds

Green supercomputer benchmarks make boffins see red, check blueprints

Top 10 use GPU brawn, but has anyone any bright ideas on better juicy tests?

Top three mobile application threats

SC13 The biannual Green500 list of the most energy-efficient supercomputers has broken new ground in two important ways: for the first time an HPC system broke the 4 gigaflops per watt barrier, and also for the first time all the top 10 systems benefitted from GPU acceleration. Then there's a third bit of note: the benchmarks are rubbish.

Green500 energy-efficient supercomputer list - top 10, November 2013

Ten wins for Intel Xeon, ten wins for Nvidia Tesla (click to enlarge)

The list, measured in floating-point operations per watt when running the Linpack benchmark, was announced Wednesday at the SC13 supercomputing conference in Denver, Colorado. The top finisher, the 2,720-core TSUBAME-KFC from the GSIC Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology may have topped the Green500 energy-miser list, but it ranked at number 311 on the "performance is all we care about" Top500 list announced Monday.

TSUMABE-KFC is a purpose-built prototype created specifically at GSIC to study advanced cooling and low-power supercomputing, and its designers did their jobs well, with the system scoring a cool 4,503.17 megaflops per watt (Mflops/W).

To put that achievement in perspective, the number-one ranking in the previous Green500 list, published in June 2013, was held by the Eurora system from Italy's Cineca, which produced 3,208.83 Mflops/W to win the crown. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all – but TSUMABE-KFC bested Eurora by a full 40 per cent.

For fans of truly big iron, perhaps most the most interesting system on the list is Piz Daint from the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), which ranked number four with a megafloppage per watt of 3,185.91 (more on that score later). Piz Daint is the highest-ranking petaflop-capable super on the Green500 list, and also scored an impressive sixth place on the Top500 list.

By way of comparison, the two systems ahead of Piz Daint in the Green500 were ranked in triple digits in the Top500: Cambridge University's Wilkes was number two in the Green 500 but 166 in the Top500, and the University of Tsukuba, Japan's Center for Computational Sciences HA-PACS TCA was number three in the Green500 and number 134 in the Top500.

Piz Daint's performance in the Top500 was notable in one other way. In the June 2013 list it ranked 42; in the November list it rocketed up to number six. The reason? The addition of Nvidia Tesla K20X GPU accelerators to its 28-rack Cray XSC30 system.

Which leads us to the second notable thing about the new Green500 list: of the top 10 performers, all ten were boosted by Nvidia Tesla GPU accelerators: seven were equipped with Tesla K20X cards, two with K20s, and one with a K20M – which is essentially a K20.

In June, by comparison, only three of the top 10 systems had GPU accelerators: two with Nvidia Tesla K20s, and one with AMD FirePro S10000s. Another had Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor cards; no Xeon Phi–equipped system made the top 10 of the most recent Green500 list.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.