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Why 20 Years of Linux Expertise is Good for Supercomputing



By: amiej

November 13, 2012 7:33 pm

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We’re not the only ones that turned 20 this year. On the first day of this year’s Supercomputing Conference, the TOP500 List also kicked off its 20th year by announcing its latest list of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world.

At the top of this year’s list was Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Titan achieved 17.59 Petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark – across 560,640 processors, including 261,632 NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores. Supported by the Department of Energy, Titan helps the U.S. government conduct research in energy, climate change, efficient engines, materials and other disciplines that pave the way for a wide range of achievements in science and technology.

At the heart of Titan is the Cray Linux Environment, an adaptive operating system purpose-built for HPC and designed for performance, reliability, and compatibility.  And this operating system – CLE – like many supercomputers – is based on SUSE.

Breaking down the entire TOP500 list unveils more about why 2o years of Linux expertise is good for supercomputing:

  • 93.8% percent of all supercomputers run Linux.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server powers 7 of the top 20 and about one third of the top 100 supercomputers
  • Twenty eight of the computers, including Titan, run on the Cray Linux Environment operating system, which is based on SUSE Linux.
  • Two of the computers run on Computer Node Linux, a runtime environment for certain Cray models that is based on SUSE Linux.
  • sgi bet on SUSE and won with 19+ supercomputers running SUSE Linux Enterprise.

Linux has long been praised for having the flexibility to handle HPC workloads. Today’s list is further validation that Linux powers some of the most promising and revolutionary technology in the world.

If you’re at the show and you’re interested in learning more about SUSE and HPC, check out this post detailing our SC12 show activity and visit SUSE booth 4827 this week.

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Categories: Enterprise Linux, Expert Views

Disclaimer: As with everything else at SUSE Conversations, this content is definitely not supported by SUSE (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).  It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.

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