Monday, 13 July 2009

IBM Supercomputers are the most energy efficient

I'm not sure whether this is really news, but according to Green500.org, which publishes the Green500 list, 90% of the top 20 energy efficient supercomputers in the world are made by IBM.

This is the fifth edition of the list, which ranks computers on the basis of megaflops per watt (but I still don't understand who's got the time or inclination to list the top 500). When I last reported on the list IBM had 15 of the top 20, so it's doing even better now in the green supercomputer stakes. For your information, the other two in the top 20 were the GRAPE-DR accelerator Cluster, Infiniband (ranked 5) and the NEC HPC 140Rb-1 Cluster, Xeon X5560 2.8Ghz, Infiniband (20). (No, me neither).

Perhaps more interesting is the analysis that average efficiency increased by 10%, although the aggregate power of the list increased by 15%, so while the supercomputers on the list are collectively consuming more power, they are using the power more efficiently. Also, there are now more machines above 200 Mflops/Watt and fewer machines below 50 - as more powerful supercomputers supplant the less powerful, these new machines are performing their computations more energy efficiently.

The full Green500 list is available here.

Some might argue that the problem is that there are increasing numbers of supercomputers using more energy, even if they are more efficient, and they have a point. It's hard to tell what all these machines are doing - most are in universities and research institutes. But one area of growth is bound to be around trying to monitor and predict the impact of climate change.

© The Green IT Review

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