CINECA Tops Green500 List

A new list of the world's most efficient supercomputers reveals the benefits of the CPU/GPU architecture.

The Eurora supercomputer, located at the CINECA facility Bologna, Italy, claimed the top spot in the 13th edition of the Green500 list. The Green500, which comes out twice a year, ranks supercomputers based on their energy efficiency. Eurora, which topped the scales at 3208.83 MFLOPS per Watt, was build by Eurotech, as was the second-place Aurora Tigon computer, a similar system located at Selex ES in Switzerland.

The latest list documents the emergence of heterogeneous CPU/GPU systems as an efficient alternative to conventional CPU-based systems. The top 4 supercomputers on the list are all heterogeous systems, and after that, all the rest of the top 28 IBM BlueGene/Q systems with PowerPC CPU processors.

The Green500 list was devised by Wu-chun Feng and Kirk Cameron at Virginia Tech University. The list is built from Top500 Linpack data, but maintainers rank the systems around metrics for efficiency and energy usage. According to the Green500 project website, "For decades, the notion of 'performance' has been synonymous with 'speed' (as measured in FLOPS, short for floating-point operations per second). This particular focus has led to the emergence of supercomputers that consume egregious amounts of electrical power and produce so much heat that extravagant cooling facilities must be constructed to ensure proper operation. In addition, the emphasis on speed as the ultimate metric has caused other metrics such as reliability, availability, and usability to be largely ignored. As a result, there has been an extraordinary increase in the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a supercomputer. In order to raise awareness to other performance metrics of interest (e.g., performance per watt and energy efficiency for improved reliability), the Green500 offers lists to encourage supercomputing stakeholders to ensure that supercomputers are only simulating climate change and not creating climate change."