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The Problem With the Top500 Supercomputer List

November 19th, 2010 11:26 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

angry tapir writes “The Top500 list of supercomputers is dutifully watched by high-performance computing participants and observers, even as they vocally doubt its fidelity to excellence. Many question the use of a single metric — Linpack — to rank the performance of something as mind-bogglingly complex as a supercomputer. During a panel at the SC2010 conference this week in New Orleans, one high-performance-computing vendor executive joked about stringing together 100,000 Android smartphones to get the largest Linpack number, thereby revealing the ‘stupidity’ of Linpack. While grumbling about Linpack is nothing new, the discontent was pronounced this year as more systems, such as the Tianhe-1A, used GPUs to boost Linpack ratings, in effect gaming the Top500 list.” Fortunately, Sandia National Laboratories is heading an effort to develop a new set of benchmarks. In other supercomputer news, it turns out the Windows-based cluster that lost out to Linux stumbled because of a bug in Microsoft’s software package. Several readers have also pointed out that IBM’s Blue Gene/Q has taken the top spot in the Green500 for energy efficient supercomputing, while a team of students built the third-place system.

Source: The Problem With the Top500 Supercomputer List

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