The Fastest Computers in the World
The prospects for another Earth-Simulator -like event in 2005 are very good
August 1, 2004
Horst D. Simon
Laurence Berkeley National Laboratory
Since 1993, the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers has been released twice a year. The publication of the 23rd list a few weeks ago during the International Supercomputer Conference in Heidelberg, Germany, was a much-anticipated and closely watched event.
Over the years, the TOP500 has become one of the most important tools of the high-end computing community to assess the state of the field, in particular to detect trends in use of processors and architectures, market share of vendors, and geographical distribution of supercomputers. However, with its success, the list also has created its own dynamics. The simple fact that there is a ranked list has led to a sometimes unhealthy competition for the top spots on the list, and many vendors and sites are going out of their way to do anything to land a position among the Top 10.
About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the NERSC Center serves more than 7,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.