Australia's supercomputer ranking slipping

New Zealand gets 8 entries on the Top 500 while Australia's lone Animal Logic system comes in at 447

Only one Australian supercomputer has made it onto a list of the Top 500 announced at the SC09 forum in US this week.

The US dominates the list with 277 entries while the UK came in second with 45 ahead of Germany (27), France (25) and China (21).

While Australia has had an entry on the Top 500 list every year since 1993 it was easily surpassed in the most recent update by New Zealand's eight entries.

Coming in at 447 was Animal Logic's HP-based supercomputer, which slipped from 227 in the June rankings and continues to slide further down the list after debuting at 87 in 2005.

The Animal Logic set up is base on HP's Cluster Platform 3000BL System Model running Linux with Intel EM64T Xeon L54xx (Harpertown) 2500 MHz (10 GFlops) processing.

The most Australia has ever had on the list is 11 entries in 2005. The highest rank was in the same year with an Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC) SGI Altix system coming at number 26.

While IBM systems dominated the top 10 with four entries in the most recent list, a Cray supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US regained the top spot from the IBM Roadrunner system at the US Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

(See a slideshow on how to build your own supercomputer)

The Oak Ridge Jaguar supercomputer boasts a speed of 1.759 petaflops per second from 224,162 cores. The IBM Roadrunner, meanwhile hit 1.042 petaflops per second. A petaflop is one thousand trillion calculations per second.

For the first time China entered the Top 10 at number five with a hybrid Intel-AMD system.

Hewlett-Packard led in the number of systems on the list, with 210 supercomputers or 42 percent, compared with 185 for IBM.

Australia's newest and most powerful supercomputer, launched in Canberra this week has not yet made the list.

The $15 million, 140 Teraflops Sun Constellation, housed at the Australian National University (ANU), is set to boost Australia’s computational research capability into world rankings.

The list of the Top 500 supercomputers is compiled twice a year and is now in its 34th installment.

To make the Top500 list, compiled by academic researchers in the US and Europe entries must have computing power of 17.1 TFLOPS, up from 12.64 TFLOPS earlier this year, which represents increases in performance - and price.

Just two years ago, the entry point on the list was 4 TFLOPS. And you can buy a system of similar power for as little as $US10,000.

See the full list and ranking methodology.

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Tags HPIBMANUCraytop 500Sun Constellationanimal logic

More about AMDAPACAustralian Partnership for Advanced ComputingCrayHewlett-Packard AustraliaHPIBM AustraliaIBM AustraliaIntelJaguarLinuxNUOak Ridge National LaboratorySGI AustraliaWoolworths

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