Virginia Tech’s ‘System X’ Apple Mac supercomputer places seventh in Top500 list

“With performance almost double that of the Earth Simulator, in Yokohama, Japan, IBM’s Blue Gene/L on Monday was officially ranked first on the Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. IBM built four of the top ten machines on the biannual list,” Robert McMillan reports for IDG News Service. “Blue Gene/L is a 33,000-processor prototype of a much larger $100 million system that will be delivered to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, during the first half of 2005. The system is capable of performing 70.72 trillion calculations per second, making it the first new system to top the list since NEC’s Earth Simulator first appeared in 2002.”

“When fully assembled at Lawrence Livermore, Blue Gene/L will be a 130,000-processor system with an estimated peak performance of 360 teraflops, according to IBM. A teraflop is one trillion calculations per second,” McMillan reports. “In second place on Monday’s Top500 ranking is the 10,240-processor Columbia supercomputer, built by Silicon Graphics (SGI) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, in Mountain View, California. With a benchmarked performance of 51.87 teraflops, it easily beat out the Earth Simulator, which was measured at 35.86 teraflops.”

“Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University reappeared on the list, finishing in seventh position five months after dropping off the last list, issued in June, because of a hardware upgrade to Apple Computer’s Xserve systems. Virginia Tech’s SuperMac system reported a benchmark of 12.25 teraflops,” McMillan reports.

Full article here.


  1. they didn’t upgrade and lose speed. the previous cluster never officially topped 11 tera. the bummer is the cost relationship. Hell, spend a 100 million on G5s and see what kind of cluster you get!

    Virginia Poly’s cost 6.5 mil – multiply that by 15, take into account a 22% dropoff at that multiplier, and you still get a 98 million dollar machine at a speed of about 140 tera.


  2. Well theres an article recently about Windows releasing their SDK for windows supercomputing but they havent worked out how much they are going to “Sell” (rent) licenses for. Why would anyone pay for Windows on a supercomputer when Linux and Unix already have most of the scientific apps. Just another me 2 from MS. I hope the effort falls flat on its face.

  3. 5 of the top 10 are PPC CPUs, quite a change from last year. The Power 4 Chip is the father of the IBM 970 series a.k.a. G5. The Power PC RISC design is just now coming into it’s own and the future is VERY bright- on the desktop and in the cold room.

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