DOE machines top supercomputer list

Energy Department labs run seven of the 10 fastest supercomputers on the Top 500 list.

Energy Department labs run seven of the top 10 supercomputers on the latest installment of the Top500, a biannual ranking of the world's most powerful supercomputers. The latest iteration of the list was posted Nov. 17.

Los Alamos National Laboratory's Roadrunner, an IBM machine, topped the list, achieving 1.1 petaflops, followed closely by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Cray-supplied Jaguar, which clocked in at slightly faster than 1.05 petaflops.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories also had machines in the top 10 spots.

Overall, U.S. government agencies or academic institutions run nine of the top 10 supercomputers. NASA's Ames Research Center debuted its new SGI-supplied Pleiades machine at 487 teraflops. And the University of Texas' Texas Advanced Computing Center rounded out the country's showing in the top 10, with its Sun Microsystems-supplied Ranger achieving 433 teraflops.

The federal government's dominance of the Top500 lists represents a concerted effort on the part of DOE to beef up the country's supercomputer power.

Earlier in the decade, lawmakers were concerned that the United States was losing its technological edge and feared that the country would fall behind in industrial development and academic research.

Much of the computational power at DOE's disposal is used for its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment program, which grants computer time, on a peer-reviewed basis, to other government agencies, universities and industry.

Overall, the United States leads all other countries with the number of supercomputers on the list ' 291 of the top 500 supercomputers are on U.S. soil.

Participation in the Top 500 list is voluntary. Organizations submit their benchmarks for inclusion. Researchers at the University of Mannheim, Germany; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, compile the list.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.


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