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Another Look at the Top 500

What is really going on in supercomputing?

The latest list of Top 500 supercomputing sites looks, at first glance, like a resounding victory for Gigabit Ethernet, although a closer inspection shows that InfiniBand is thriving, particularly at the fastest sites.

In the Top 100, InfiniBand was used on some 40 sites, up from 29 in the previous list in November 2007.

Certainly, InfiniBand seems to have slowed its meteoric growth from the last few Top 500 lists, although it is still making its presence felt.

The worlds fastest computer, the aptly-named Roadrunner at Los Alamos National Laboratory , for example, relies heavily on both InfiniBand and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet.

As for 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, expectations that the interconnect is booming seem to be misplaced. Although the research organizations that compile the list do not break out 10-Gbit/s Ethernet figures, apparently only a handful of sites use the interconnect.

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