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6/23/2003
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Intel Processors Power More Supercomputers

The number of the 500 largest supercomputers run by Intel chips more than doubled in the last six months, a survey finds.

Intel processors power a growing number of supercomputers, according to a semiannual survey known as the Top500 list that's compiled by researchers at the University of Mannheim, the University of Tennessee, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The number of the 500 largest systems employing Intel chips grew in the last six months to 119 from 56, representing a major shift in the marketplace, the researchers say. With this increase, Intel processors join IBM's Power architecture and Hewlett-Packard's PA-RISC chips as the dominant processors used in high-performance cluster systems, the survey says.

Most supercomputing occurs in the United States. Seven of the 10 largest systems and just over half of all 500 systems are installed in the United States. Fifty-five percent of supercomputing muscle, based on processor speed, also resides here. More than 90% of the 500 systems were built here. These numbers demonstrate the United States' continued leadership in the usage and production of high-performance computing, the researchers say.

Yet the world's largest supercomputer is located in Japan. The Earth Simulator supercomputer, built by NEC Corp. and installed last year at the Earth Simulator Center in Yokohama, Japan, can conduct 35.86 trillion calculations a second. No. 2 is the ASCI Q system at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which can calculate at a speed of 13.88 teraflops a second. These two supercomputers are the only systems ever to exceed the 10-teraflop mark. ASCI Q, built by HP, is based on the AlphaServer SC computer system.

Researchers will present their findings this week at the ISC2003 Conference in Heidelberg, Germany.

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