Report: IBM Leadership in Supercomputing Reaches All Time High

New Study Says IBM SP Supercomputer is World's Most Popular Ever; IBM Eyes Supercomputing's Holy Grail of 100 Trillion Operations per Second

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Supercomputing - 03 Nov 2000: Conference, DALLAS., November 3, 2000 . . . An independent study released today names IBM the world leader in supercomputing, marking a milestone for the company's SP supercomputer, now the most successful system in supercomputing history. According to the TOP500 List of Supercomputers, IBM produced 215 of the world's top 500 fastest computers, its presence on the list expanding at record proportions while competitor Sun Microsystems' presence dwindles to less than half of the IBM number.

IBM also announced that it is now targeting a holy grail of supercomputing -- the construction of a computer system capable of 100 trillion calculations per second -- and said that it is confident of achieving the monumental task using existing SP supercomputing technology.

Today's list also marks the first time that other IBM systems besides the SP have attained a TOP500 ranking. The company's "Blue Hammer" clusters featuring S80 UNIX systems and Intel-based Linux cluster systems emerged today in record numbers on the list, evidence that IBM's use of supercomputing technology in these new products is paying off.

Published by researchers at the University of Tennessee and the University of Mannheim in Germany, the TOP500 List tracks the use of supercomputers by universities, government labs and a wide array of businesses.

In addition to providing the largest number of the world's fastest supercomputers, IBM tops the list with the world's fastest computer -- the 12.3 teraflop ASCI White system -- and the world's fastest Linux system based at the University of New Mexico, capable of 375 Gigaflops.

IBM also leads in aggregate power with a total of 37.3718 teraflops. IBM supercomputers possess nearly 4 times the processing power of Sun's total of 9.5326 teraflops. One teraflop is a trillion calculations per second.

TOP500 List Leaders

Total SystemsTotal Processing Power
IBM 215 37.3718 teraflops
Sun Microsystems 92 9.5326 teraflops

The latest TOP500 List continues to underscore an important trend: the emerging number of supercomputers used in business applications. Nearly half of the systems on the TOP500 -- 245 -- are used for business applications. Of the elite top ten business supercomputers in the world, eight are IBM RS/6000 SPs.

The use of supercomputers by commercial businesses has increased dramatically since "Deep Blue," an IBM RS/6000 SP, defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. In fact, over the past two years more than half of IBM sales of new supercomputers have been to customers that use them as commercial Web-hosting servers. More and more businesses are recognizing the RS/6000 SP's power and virtually unlimited scalability, traits that have been utilized for years by the scientific and technical communities for groundbreaking work in forecasting weather, biomedical research and nuclear test simulation.

"IBM has extended its leadership in supercomputing by betting on pervasive instead of specialized or niche technologies," said Rod Adkins, general manager, IBM Web Servers. "In fact, SP supercomputer software designed to manage large numbers of computers in parallel ran the largest Web site in history, handling 1.2 millions hits per minute at the Sydney Olympics. IBM will continue to deliver the processing power and deep computing technology necessary to help solve the most complex challenges of our time."

Thousands of businesses, organizations and research facilities throughout the world are trusting the RS/6000 SP to run their most demanding, mission-critical applications. From unlocking the secrets of disease and the common cold to enabling breakthroughs in nuclear simulation, weather forecasting, drug design and geological research, the RS/6000 SP marks the next generation of computational power capabilities that will help answer the most complex problems of our time.

The "TOP500 Supercomputing Sites" list is compiled and published by supercomputing experts Jack Dongarra from the University of Tennessee and Erich Strohmaier and Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim (Germany). The entire list can be viewed at

For more information about RS/6000 systems and the AIX operating system, see the RS/6000 home page at

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