IBM Research A Clear Winner in Green 500

A system from IBM Research is the most energy efficient supercomputer in the world, finishing atop the Green 500 list released today at the SC10 supercomputing conference in New Orleans. The Green 500 list recognizes the systems with the best performance-per-watt to raise awareness about the power consumption of high-performance clusters and “ensure that supercomputers only simulate climate change, not create it.”

The IBM Research system proved more efficient than the more powerful Tsubame 2.0 from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which placed second. The Chinese Tianhe-1A system, which took the top spot in the Top 500 rankings for overall supercomputing power, finished 10th in the Green 500. IBM’s system had a Linpack benchmark of 653 teraflops, but got 1,684 mflops of performance from every watt, easily outdistance Tsubame 2.0’s efficiency of 948Mflops per watt.

The winning system is a prototype of IBM’s next generation Blue Gene supercomputer. It will be deployed in 2012 by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), both of which collaborated closely with IBM on the design of Blue Gene. Columbia University and the University of Edinburgh also contributed to the next generation Blue Gene’s processor chip design.

“IBM’s next generation Blue Gene provides a glimpse of the discipline needed to improve power efficiency in order to allow the industry to build exascale-class systems capable of solving highly complex challenges,” said Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director for computing at Argonne National Laboratory. “Running such a powerful computer so efficiently shows that we can balance the demands of the advanced simulation and modeling community with environmental concerns.”

Here’s the rest of the top 10.

  • 1. IBM Research, 1,684 Mflops/watt
  • 2. Tokyo Tech (Tsubame 2.0), 948 Mflops/watt
  • 3. NCSA, 933 Mflops/watt
  • 4. RIKEN AICS, 828 Mflops/watt
  • 5. Forschungszentrum Juelich, 773 Mflops/watt
  • 6. Universitaet Regensburg, 773 Mflops/watt
  • 7. Universitaet Wuppertal, 773 Mflops/watt
  • 8. Universitaet Frankfurt, 741 Mflops/watt
  • 9. Georgia Institute of Technology, 677 Mflops/watt
  • 10. NSC Tianjin (Tianhe-1A), 635 Mflops/watt

The Green 500 web site has not yet been updated with the new list, which is currently being announced at the SC10 conference. A summary of the top finishers was released by NVIDIA in a press release. We’ll update with additional details and a link once the full list is release online.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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