Once upon a time, supercomputers used special vector model processors to achieve their then remarkable speeds. Then, at the turn of the 21st century, people began working out how to achieve record-breaking computer speed by linking hundreds or thousands of commercial microprocessors running Linux and connected with high-speed networking in MPP (massively parallel processor) arrays. The supercomputing world has never been the same. Today, Linux rules supercomputing.
The latest Top 500 supercomputer list of the fastest computers on the planet makes that abundantly clear. Broken down by operating system, this latest ranking has 469 of the Top 500 running one kind of Linux or another.
To be exact, 391 are running their own house-brand of Linux. 62 are running one version or another of Novell’s SUSE Linux, including such variants as UNICOS/lc and CNL (Compute Node Linux). Red Hat and its relatives, including CentOS, comes in second with 16 supercomputers.