IBM leads field on energy efficient supercomputers on Green 500

IBM reckons its supercomputers are the most energy efficient in the world, backed up by research from the Supercomputing Green 500 List at Green500.org – 17 out of 20 on the top ten are built on IBM technology. It also holds 65 of the top 100 positions.

IBM’s hardware is found from China to Germany and the US, being used for a bunch of different applications like astronomy, climate prediction and pharmceutical research, it says. 

For the second time the most energy efficient systems, according to the list, are the three QPACE systems which run off the IBM PowerXCell 8i processor. All three are based in Germany, at the Julich Supercomputing Centre, the University of Regensburg and the University of Wuppertalare and tie for the top spot. Each produce over 773 Mflops per watt of energy.

The most energy-efficient x86-only cluster on the list, ranking at 9th overall on the Green500, is located at the Mississippi State University’s High Performance Computing Collaboratory. It employs the iDataPlex based cluster along with the IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger which supposedly cools the entire data centre. 

The full Green500.org list can be found at its website here.

IBM must be chuffed with the news, as it’s just issued a statement about another energy efficient supercomputer which has gone live today at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology,  Zurich. It’s a hot water-cooled supercomputer which the company hopes will become the new benchmark for energy aware computing.

It’s called Aquasar and may or may not have been named after a Pokemon. It is said to consume up to 40 percent less energy than an air-cooled machine with similar stats, and says it can use waste heat to provide warmth to university buildings. Compared to other systems, apparently the carbon footprint is reduced by up to 85 percent.

The Aquasar, which also holds additional air-cooled IBM BladeCenter servers, can achieve a performance of six Teraflops and has an energy efficiency of around 450 megaflops per watt. It’s live now.