SAN JOSE, Calif. AMD and IBM Corp. are on the rise while Intel Corp. declined slightly in its dominance of microprocessor technology in the latest rankings of the top 500 supercomputer systems.
Geographically, Asia surpassed Europe as the second largest user of high-end computers in the 2006 supercomputer rankings released Wednesday (June 28) at the International Supercomputer Conference in Dresden, Germany. China is now nearly neck-and-neck with Japan. The ranking, updated twice a year, otherwise showed few major changes.
A total of 301 systems on the latest list use Intel processors, down from 333 systems six months ago. Intel's 64-bit x86 processors are being rapidly adopted in popular cluster configurations rising from use in 81 to 118 systems in the last six months. However, the company's Itanium chip fell from use in 46 to 36 supercomputers.
IBM's Power processor was the second most popular CPU, showing up in 84 systems on the list. The custom PowerPC 440 used in the high-end BlueGene system is now installed in some 26 systems on the list.
AMD is close behind Big Blue with 81 Opteron systems in the Top 500. That's up from 55 systems six months ago and just 25 in the list a year ago. Twenty-six of the Opteron systems are based on dual-core processors.
Clusters remain the dominant architecture on the list with 365 systems taking this approach. Gigabit Ethernet was the primary interconnect for those clusters, appearing in 255 systems compared to the proprietary Myranet interconnect from Myracom in just 87 systems.
The traditional vector architecture was used in just eight systems ranked in this version of top 500, four each from Cray and NEC.