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Yesterday the Top 500 Supercomputer Sites was announced. The Top500 list shows the most powerful commercially available supercomputer systems in the world. This list represents the very outside of what supercomputer performance is possible when cost is no object. The top placement on the list is always owned by a sovereign funded laboratory. These are the systems that only government funded agencies can purchase. But they have great interest for me because, as the cost of computing continues to fall, these performance levels will become commercially available to companies wanting to run high scale models and data intensive computing. In effect, the Top500 predicts the future so I’m always interested in the systems on the list.
What makes this list of the fastest supercomputers in the world released yesterday particularly unusual can be found at position #42. 42 is an anomaly of the first order. In fact, #42 is an anomaly across enough dimensions that its worth digging much deeper.
Virtualization Tax is Now Affordable:
I remember reading through the detailed specifications when the Cray 1 supercomputer was announced and marveling that it didn’t even use virtual memory. It was believed at the time that only real-mode memory access could deliver the performance needed.
More of the Perspectives blog post from James Hamilton