Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Open Source, Preferred by 9 Out of 10 Supercomputers

Open Source, Preferred by 9 Out of 10 Supercomputers

Saw an interesting article today [1] that out of the top 10 supercomputers in the world, 9 of them are running some variant of Linux. On top of this a whopping 85% of the Top 500 supercomputers in the world run some form of the open source OS too.

If you are the type that likes to read the Forbes 400 list and are a tech geek, you may enjoy perusing the Top 500 supercomputer site [2]. Besides listing the top 500 supercomputers, it gives some background and performance information on many of them. Real geeky stuff for sure, but I enjoyed it.

Like the Forbes 400 list, there are lots of Americans on the list. In fact 8 out of the top 10. But again like the Forbes list there is a fair smattering of European, Russians, wealthy Arabs and of course some recent Chinese entries to the list. Do you think there might be a correlation between supercomputers and billionaires?

Anyway, the question could be asked, is this truly a testament to open source in general or Linux in particular? I say right on both counts. In so many ways Linux is the poster child for open source. Not only in terms of the great community and support, but in terms of spawning such commercial success as well. Looking at the Linux variants on the Top 500 list, Novell's Suse Linux is a very popular choice, but Red Hat Linux is represented and of course IBM has quite a few machines on the list.

The top rated machine is called Jaguar and is at the Oak Hill Labs run by the DOE. The DOE has several entries on the list, as does the US DoD. We can only guess what all of these supercomputers are spinning their Tflops on.

If you are old enough to remember a movie called Collossus: The Forbin Project [3] from 1970 (you probably have seen it on Syfy TV), we have certainly come a long way since the gigantic supercomputers that want to rule the world scared us. It would not have been possible without open source and Linux.

No comments: