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The World’s Fastest Computers use Intel chips with Linux OS – not Vista

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The list of the world’s fastest supercomputers has just been released. No great surprise that the world’s fastest computers are in the USA but it cannot be long before China catches up.

Ever wondered what OS a supercomputer runs?

Try as I might I could find no evidence that any of them run Windows Vista. In fact, not many of the world’s fastest 500 supercomputers run anything other than Linux. 473 of the fastest 500 Supercomputers in the world run Linux. That is 94.6%.  This awesome BBC Treemap visualisation gives you an idea of how dominant the Linux OS is.

OS for top 500 Supercomputers in the world

OS for top 500 Supercomputers in the world

So who is making the killer processing chips?

Intel dominates the list in terms of numbers powering over 80% of the computers in the list but, they do not have it all to themselves. AMD produce the chips for the fastest Supercomputer in the list, the Cray XT (Jaguar). When I say chips, the Cray XT (Jaguar) has a staggering 224,164 cores. This is about 56,041 more cores than the average home computer.

Processors in the world's Top 500 Supercomputers

Processors in the world's Top 500 Supercomputers

So are these the biggest, meanest, baddest computers in the world?

No. (Or probably not). Not all research machines opt to be included in the list and there are very few machines in the list that are used for military or ‘security’ applications. Scary stuff.

Look at the visualisation in more detail at this excellent BBC story.

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3 responses to “The World’s Fastest Computers use Intel chips with Linux OS – not Vista”

  1. person says:

    This is a terrible article with a terrible headline. The demands of HPC is vastly different from desktop PCs. You won’t be running the same linux on your desktop pc that runs on these super computers. Microsoft is actually a recent entry in the HPC area which WAS dominated by UNIX variants before Linux became the OS to use in this area. You can see this for yourself if you go to http://www.top500.org/overtime/list/35/osfam

  2. Another person - this time with a sense of humor says:

    You must be American too right? At least some of us have a sense of humor.

    If I was a psychic I would also deduce that:

    Coffee is your favorite drug.

    You work in Seattle.

    You find Steve Ballmer, ‘Inspirational’.

    You dont understand why Apple is worth more than your company.

  3. spc says:

    @. You won’t be running the same linux on your desktop pc that runs on these super computers

    Infact source code for kernel is exactly the same you get on desktops. That’s example how linux scales.