IBM again tops supercomputer rankings

ASCI White, IBM's classified supercomputer used for nuclear weapons research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, was ruled the world's most powerful, followed by the company's machine at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), also in California.

The TOP500 list, published every six months by researchers from University of Tennessee and the University of Mannheim, was made public at the Supercomputing 2001 Conference, under way this week in Heidelberg, Germany. Researchers measure supercomputers' speed and power using a benchmarking standard called the Linpack test.

IBM also dominated the previous list, released in November, with ASCI White taking first place, and Big Blue machines in five of the top 10 positions.

Third place went to Intel's ASCI Red, at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico; IBM took fourth for its ASCI Blue-Pacific machine, also at Lawrence Livermore; and fifth-place honors went to Hitachi Ltd. for its SR8000/MPP, at the University of Tokyo.

IBM officially announced delivery the NERSC machine, capable of a theoretical peak of 3.8 trillion calculations per second, in a statement Thursday. The supercomputer will be used for research projects including simulating internal-engine combustion in a bid to develop more fuel-efficient and less polluting vehicles.

The TOP500 list can be viewed online at http://www.top500.org/.

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Rick Perera

PC World

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