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Heterogeneous supercomputers head up Green500

The top end of the Green500 List, released last week, is again dominated by heterogeneous supercomputers – those that combine two or more types of processing elements together, such as a traditional processor or central processing unit (CPU) combined with a graphical processing unit (GPU) or coprocessor.

Two heterogeneous systems, based on Nvidia’s Kepler K20 GPU accelerators, claim the top two positions and break through the three-billion floating-point operations per second (gigaflops or Gflops) per watt barrier.

Eurora, located at Cineca, debuts at the top of the Green500 at 3.21 gigaflops/watt, followed closely by Aurora Tigon at 3.18 gigaflops/watt. The energy efficiency of these machines, manufactured by Eurotech, improves upon the previous greenest supercomputer in the world by nearly 30 per cent.

Two more heterogeneous systems – Beacon, with an efficiency of 2.449 gigaflops/watt, and SANAM, with an efficiency of 2.35 gigaflops/watt, come in at numbers three and four on the Green500. The former is based on Intel Xeon Phi 5110P coprocessors, while the latter is based on AMD FirePro S10000 GPUs.

Rounding out the top five is CADMOS BlueGene/Q, which is based on a previously list-leading custom design of the IBM BlueGene/Q architecture with PowerPC-based CPU processors.

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