The top 500 fastest computers

The University of Toronto has laid claim to housing the world’s fastest self-made computer, according to the 21st edition of the Top 500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers.

The list is complied 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.

Topping this year’s list is Japan’s Earth Simulator supercomputer built by NEC last year. The Earth Simulator has a Linpack benchmark performance of 35.86 teraflops per second or trillions of calculations per second.

In comparison, the University of Toronto supercomputer, which placed 39th on the top 500 list, 0.12 teraflops per second. The Earth Simulator has 5,120 processors to the U of T’s 512.

The system was initally built by Montreal-based reseller Mynix Technologies. Mynix has since closed up shop and Ciara Technologies of Montreal has taken over the PowerRACK-HX dual Xeon 2.4GHz system with SMC GigE switches for the university.

The number of systems in the Top 500 list using Intel processors grew in the last six months from 56 to 119. With this increase, the Intel processor line joins IBM’s Power architecture and Hewlett-Packard’s PA/RISC chips as one of the dominant processors used.

HP again was the overall leader in systems on the list with 159. It edged out IBM by only one. SGI came in a distant third with 54 systems on the top 500 list.

In terms of countries, the U.S. has 50 per cent of the world’s fastest computers at 250 systems. Germany was second with 54. Canada was eighth overall with seven systems in the top 500, which is only 1.4 per cent of the world’s fastest systems.

The new TOP500 list, as well as the former lists, can be found on the Web at

Below are two lists. The first is the top supercomputers in Canada and after that the top ten supercomputers in the world.

Top Canadian Supercomputers

Rank Manufacturer No. of Processors Installation

39 Self-made 512 University of Toronto

132 NEC 80 Meterologial Service of Canada

189 IBM 448 University of Toronto

307 HP 256 Bell Canada

379 Sun 336 High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory

450 SGI 256 University of Alberta

470 IBM 112 University of Victoria

The top ten supercomputers in the world

Rank Manufacturer No. of Processors Installation

1 NEC 5120 Earth Simulator Japan

2 HP 8192 Los Alamos National Laboratory

3 Linux Networx 2304 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

4 IBM 8192 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


6 IBM 1920 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

7 Fujitsu 2304 National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan

8 HP 1540 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

9 HP 3016 Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

10 HP 2560 Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique (CEA)/France

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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