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SGI® Secures Top Rankings in New Survey of TOP500 Supercomputer Sites


Company Leads in Performance Efficiency; Number One Among Open Systems HPC Deployments

FREMONT, Calif. - SGI® continues to showcase its leadership among providers of the world’s most powerful, energy-efficient supercomputers. In the latest semi-annual ranking of the world’s TOP500 Supercomputer Sites, the SGI® Altix® ICE cluster at the U.S. Army Research Lab was heralded as the industry’s “greenest” supercomputer, as measured by performance efficiency. The results were presented by TOP500 researchers at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) on June 23 in Hamburg, Germany.

Performance efficiency, or “LINPACK efficiency,” measures the ratio between maximum performance (RMax) and peak performance (RPeak). SGI dominated this new category with 12 of the 20 most performance-efficient supercomputers in the world.

SGI supercomputers continue to be well represented in the top open systems deployments, adding three new supercomputers to the prestigious TOP500 list.

Highlights include:

* SGI powers 20 of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, up from 17 on the November ’08 TOP500 list
* SGI’s ’Pleiades’ Supercomputer at NASA/Ames Research Center/NAS is the number one open system based on a scale-out x86 architecture and is one of the world’s top five most powerful supercomputers (listed at No. 4)
* SGI’s Altix ICE 8200 cluster for France’s TOTAL Exploration Production is the list’s top commercial deployment
* SGI systems represent seven of the 11 systems with a LINPACK efficiency of greater than 90 percent
* The SGI Altix ICE 8200 cluster architecture at the U.S. Army Research Lab is the world’s most performance-efficient system, achieving nearly 94 percent LINPACK efficiency
* Altix ICE clusters represent 12 of the top 20 most performance-efficient systems

Based on the published TOP500 data, SGI’s Altix ICE cluster at the U.S. Army Research Lab also represents the first time that the performance efficiency of an x86 scalar-based system outperformed vector-based systems. The latter traditionally performs better due to its ability to quickly access single pieces of data; however, SGI Altix ICE’s high-speed fabric, coupled with highly-tuned MPI libraries and Intel’s new Nehalem processors, gave it the edge in this comparison.

“SGI has once again been recognized for continually pushing the boundaries of supercomputing and developing the most innovative, energy-efficient systems in the world,” said Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI’s chief technology officer. “We did not achieve these levels of performance efficiency by chance. We use the same hardware components available to competitors but, because of unique architectures like the Altix ICE, customers are able to obtain additional performance and energy efficiency from our systems.”

SGI’s “traditional” clusters and servers ensure the most demanding applications make dedicated use of all components: CPU, memory, bandwidth, OS, compilers and middleware layers, while guaranteeing a flexible and fast evolution path. This is due to the in-depth understanding of HPC applications and system optimization needed to exceed the demands of application workflows.

“Platforms based on Intel® Xeon® 5400 and 5500 series processors have been game-changing for supercomputing, and we’ve worked closely with SGI to develop powerful yet energy-efficient systems for the world’s most demanding environments,” said Richard Dracott, general manager of Intel’s High Performance Computing Group.

The TOP500 Supercomputer Sites is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

About SGI
SGI® is a global leader in large-scale clustered computing, high-performance storage, HPC and data center enablement and services. SGI is dedicated to solving the IT industry’s most demanding business and technology challenges. Visit for more information.


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