The Top 500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers contains an AMD-powered machine for the first time.
This is the PRESTO III, a Beowulf cluster of 78 AMD Athlon processors, built by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which appears at no. 439 in the lastest supercomputer hit parade. Dr Satoshi Matsuoka, who led the PRESTO III supercomputer initiative, hopes to move up the list when it's next announced at the end of the year.
Updated twice a year since 1993, the Top 500 list is maintained by "high-performance computer experts, computational scientists, manufacturers and the Internet community".
IBM occupies six of the top 10 slots in the latest list, including first and second place. An Intel-powered machine takes third place, and other places in the top ten are taken by Hitachi, SGI and NEC. Cray, perhaps the most famous supercomputer name of all, makes its first appearance at no. 11.
So AMD has some way to go before its name becomes synomymous with supercomputing. However, the appearance on the top 500 shows that its technology is appropriate for processor-intensive scientific applications. Currently, there are eight AMD-powered supercomputers, all in universities, all using Linux and all using Beowulf clustering. ®