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Fast, Faster, Fastest: Linux rules supercomputing

A few decades back I was working at Goddard Space Flight Center. I’m sorry to say that I left just before some people I’d met, Don Becker and Thomas Sterling, built the first Linux cluster, Beowulf. They didn’t know it, but by making a cheap cluster from 16 486DXs processors and 10Mbps Ethernet, they were creating the ancestor to today’s Linux supercomputers. Now, not 20 years later, well over 90% of the world top 500 supercomputers are running Linux.

The new supercomputer champion of champions, according to the TOP500 list of the world’s top supercomputers is Sequoia. This IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved an impressive 16.32 petaflop per second (Pflop/s) on the Linpack benchmark using 1,572,864 cores.” That’s 16.32 quadrillion floating-point operations per second). The operating system? Linux of course.

Fast, Faster, Fastest: Linux rules supercomputing. More >

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