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High-Speed Links Favor Ethernet

Ethernet dominates high-speed interconnection in the world's biggest supercomputing sites, and it's likely to keep that momentum.

The unveiling of the world's biggest supercomputers at this week's International Supercomputer Conference in Heidelberg, Germany, showed Gigabit Ethernet is the preferred network in 42.4 percent of the top 500 sites (see Top Supercomputers Revealed).

Myrinet, a packet-based switching technology sold by Myricom Inc., is in second place, used in 28.2 percent of sites. InfiniBand, despite the hype of vocal supporters, occupies just over 3 percent of sites. The rest of the top supercomputers rely on a range of proprietary and even arcane solutions.

Table 1: Top 500 Supercomputer Interconnects

Interconnect Count Share %
Gigabit Ethernet 212 42.4
Myrinet 141 28.2
SP Switch 45 9
NUMAlink 21 4.2
Crossbar 21 4.2
Proprietary 17 3.4
Infiniband 16 3.2
Quadrics 13 2.6
Cray Interconnect 7 1.4
Mixed 3 0.6
Fireplane 2 0.4
HIPPI 1 0.2
Giganet 1 0.2
All 500 100%

Gigabit Ethernet has risen 11 percent since the last Top 500 list in November 2004; Myrinet use has toppled 22 percent. While there is fluctuation in the use of other technologies, it appears that Ethernet's a clear winner in the world's fastest sites.

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