Windows Supercomputer Breaks Petaflop Barrier
A supercomputer using Windows HPC Server entered petaflop land.
Last week the organization behind the World's Top 500 Supercomputers list announced that China grabbed the supercomputing leadership spot with the Tianhe-1A system located at the National supercomputer Center in Tianjin. The monster system has achieved a performance level of 2.57 petaflops per second--literally quadrillions of calculations per second.
"We saw outstanding performance from Windows HPC Server during our Linpack benchmarking run on Tsubame 2.0," said Satoshi Matsuoka, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. "It broke the Petaflop barrier and was on par with Linux at this scale. In a power-optimized configuration, it recorded over a Gigaflop/Watt, showing it is nearly three times more energy efficient than an average laptop. We were very excited to see this level of performance given Windows applications will be an important part of our work with industry partners."
The problem Microsoft faced with its Top 500 ranking is that the achievement wasn't recognized because the same machine was able to achieve higher speeds using Linux. General manager of Microsoft's technical computing group Bill Hilf said that the benchmarking tests were performed on both Linux and Windows with a resulting 5-percent difference, however Linux came out on top. That said, the Tokyo Institute was only allowed to submit one test to the Top 500 group, and obviously chose the faster of the two.
Still, Microsoft seemed pleased with the results despite not making the Top 500. "We're not trying to be a supercomputing company," Hilf said. "We're trying to say 'how do we mainstream all of this stuff so that HPC becomes broadly available at all levels.'"
"For us, it's not about some exotic supercomputers that are available to a small amount of users," he added. "We're really interested in the bottom 500,000 computing users."
The Top 500 list showed that only five computers where using Windows while 459 used Linux.