The last couple non-Linux systems, a pair of Chinese IBM POWER machines running AIX, fell off the November 2017 TOP500 Supercomputer list.
Overall, Asia now leads the supercomputing race with 202 machines to the US’ 144. China also manages the US in aggregate performance. China’s supercomputers reproduce 35.4 percent of the Top500’s flops, while the US pursues with 29.6 percent. With an anti-science administration in charge of the government, America will only proceed to see its technological lead decline.
When the first Top500 supercomputer list was selected in June 1993, Linux was just more than a toy. It hadn’t even raised Tux as its mascot yet. It didn’t take long for Linux to start its march on supercomputing
In 1993/1994, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Donald Becker and Thomas Sterling planned a Commodity Off The Shelf (COTS) supercomputer: Beowulf. Since they couldn’t afford a conventional supercomputer, they built a cluster machine made up of 16 Intel 486 DX4 processors, which were joined by channel bonded Ethernet. This Beowulf supercomputer was an instant success.
To this day, the Beowulf design lives a popular, inexpensive way of planning supercomputers. Indeed, in the latest Top500 list, 437 of the world’s fastest machines are using cluster designs that owe a debt of gratitude to Beowulf.
Linux first arrived on the Top500 in 1998. Before Linux took the lead, Unix was supercomputing’s top running system. Since 2003, the Top500 was on its way to Linux domination. By 2004, Linux had taken the lead for good.
“Linux the driving force slow the breakthroughs in computing power that have fed research and technological innovation,” as published by The Linux Foundation. In other words, Linux is dominant in supercomputing, at least in part, because it is serving researchers push the limits on computing power.
This occurred for two reasons: First, because most of the world’s top supercomputers are research machines built for specific tasks, each machine is a standalone project with unique characteristics and optimization requirements. To save expenses, no one wants to develop a custom ordering system for each of these systems. With Linux, however, research teams can easily modify and optimize Linux’s open-source system to their one-off designs.
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