For 30 years, the Top500 list of supercomputers has been published twice per year to coincide with the biannual supercomputing tradeshow. Times have changed enormously since the first list in June 1993. Thinking Machines, made famous in the movie “Jurassic Park,” dominated that list. However, glory was fleeting, Thinking Machines broke up, and it was sold in pieces to Sun Microsystems and Oracle in the ’90s.
Now, the list once read by HPC insiders has gone mainstream and is a source of bragging rights for the vendors that make a good showing. We’ve already given you the top 10 list, but here’s a different look at the ranking and how certain systems and vendors fared.
The venerable x86 architecture rules the supercomputing roost, with 479 of the 500 machines on the Top500 powered by Intel or AMD.
Losing power: IBM Power
There was a time when IBM’s Power processors dominated the list and were in the top spot. Ten years ago, there were 41 machines running IBM Power. Now there are just seven, although two made it into the top 10: Sierra (#7) and Summit (#10).
Holding on: Fujitsu
Fujitsu developed the A64FX processor, based on the Arm microarchitecture, and for a while held the top spot on the lists thanks to the power and efficiency of the A64FX. It has eight systems on the most recent list, which is more than IBM. But this victory is fleeting. Nvidia is preparing to launch the Grace Hopper superchip for supercomputing and has promised more than 40 systems will be coming online in the future.
Intel has been knocked on its heels by AMD, but it’s still a formidable presence. It’s powering 338 systems on the list, with 130 of them from the Cascade Lake era and 19 of them from the brand-new Sapphire Rapids generation.