Nov 2013 Top500 list

The second Top500 list of supercomputers for 2013 is now out. There’s little change at the top of the list, as the top five computers retain their positions. This is largely a “keep it steady” release it seems, with few major changes.

Of note, the Intel Xeon Phi co-processor continues to make small inroads against the nVidia Tesla series of graphics processors. I assume this is because it’s easier to write code and compile for the well-known x86 architecture rather than re-architecture for the more different CUDA chips. Actually, the co-processor/accelerator growth trend seems to have stalled in the last few years where it previously was showing exponential growth.

I think it’s fair to say that a mainstream desktop today has a quad-core processor while laptops are dual-core going on quad-core. So it’s interesting that 94% of the computers on the list have 6+ core processors and 75% have 8+ cores. The model of many chips running together remains strong and will likely continue that way, but it’s worth noting that these are not “commodity” consumer-grade chips.

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