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Canada moves down the Top 500 Supercomputer list

Only 10 Canadian built supercomputers made the prestigious list of powerful machines

Canada maybe able to beat the United States in hockey, but its not even close when it comes to producing supercomputers.

The top producing supercomputing nation in the world is the United States with a whopping 252 supercomputers. That is more than half the list. There is no other country that comes close. In second place was China with 68 supercomputers.

The Sequoia supercomputer topped the list in 2012. The IBM Blue Gene/Q system at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) does 16 petaflops using 1,572,864 cores — a world record. This year marks the first time since 2009 that a supercomputer from the U.S. sits atop the Top 500 list.

Sequoia is also one of the most energy efficient systems on the list, which will be released, according to the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany, the organization that creates the Top 500 list. The Fujitsu “K Computer” installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan, is now the No. 2 system with 10.51 Pflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores. The K Computer held the No. 1 spot on the previous two lists.

How did Canada do? Well not very well. Last year Canada’s Calcul supercomputer placed 41st with two IBM supercomputers from Environment Canada placing 56 and 57 respectively. The same Calcul machine that is housed at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec dropped to 71st place.

The best performing Canadian-build supercomputer is SciNet in 66th spot up one from last year.

Canada did not fare well in the overall country rankings. Canada is the seventh largest producer of supercomputers. The U.S. is first with 252 followed by China at 68. Japan is third at 35, U.K. is fourth at 25, France is fifth at 22, Germany is sixth with 20 and then comes Canada in seventh spot with 10. Italy is 8th with eight supercomputers.

IBM destroyed the field when it comes to supercomputing vendors. IBM placed 213 of their machines in the Top 500. HP was second with 138 followed by supercomputer or mainframe specialist Cray Inc. who had 26 units on the list.

Other notables are Dell with 12, Oracle with seven, Fujitsu with seven and Hitachi Data Systems with five. Lenovo and Acer each had one. Another interesting point from this edition of the Top 500 was that three supercomputers were self made and other two where built by chipmaker Intel.

In terms of operating system look no further than to Linux which has 419 supercomputers running its system. IBM AIX had 22 in second spot. The Windows HPC system just had two make the list.

What are these incredibly fast supercomputers used for? That is a mystery because 209 did not specify what they use these machines for. Other application areas that were popular are research with 105 machines, finance with 25, Web services with 21, energy with 17 and weather and defense with 13 a piece.

The rest of the best Canadian-made supercomputers are:

Environment Canada at 90 and 91st spots

Clumeq at McGill in 125th place

Compute Canada at the University of Calgary at 167th

The Government of Canada’s supercomputer was in 286th place

At 314 is Clumeq at the University of Laval

Compute Canada placed another machine from UBC in 319th spot

And the last Canadian-made supercomputer was the RQCHP at the University of Montreal in 376th place.