Tuesday, November 09, 2004

New Top 500 List is Out

The new Top 500 Computer List is out. It is interesting to see the division in philosophy going on. On one hand you have BlueGene/L system which takes parts as cheaply as possible and throws as many CPUs, 36,000, at the problem. Sounds good but if you calculations need a lot of communication this will probably actually be quite poor. On the other hand you have the vectorized computer called the Earth Simulator which uses realitively few CPUs but the customization is incredibly expensive. However for the most complex problems this will be the best. In the middle you have NASA's Columbia computer which uses stock CPUs but shares the memory to 512 of them at the time so that they can act as one big processor. It seems like even for the most complex problems the fact that it is so much cheaper but still able to scale well may be the way to go. Plus it won't as many years to design as custom chips.


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