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The 3rd Edition of the Green500

The inaugural Green500 was announced on November 15, 2007 at SC|07 with the most recent list announced on June 30, 2008. As a complement to the TOP500, the unveiling of the Green500 ushered in a new era where supercomputers can be compared by performance-per-watt.

This 3rd edition of the Green500 contains a plethora of interesting takeaways, of which the following five are most notable.

  1. The first sustained petaflop supercomputer - Roadrunner, from DOE Los Alamos National Laboratory - exhibits extraordinary energy efficiency.
    • Roadrunner, the top-ranked supercomputer in the TOP500, is ranked #3 on the Green500. This achievement further reinforces the fact that energy efficiency is as important as raw performance for modern supercomputers and that energy efficiency and performance can coexist. (For comparison, the last two supercomputers to top the TOP500 are #43 and #499 on the Green500.)
  2. The top three supercomputers surpass the 400 MFLOPS/watt milestone for the first time.
    • Three of IBM’s Cell-based QS22 supercomputers at IBM Germany, Fraunhofer ITWM, and DOE/NNSA/LANL achieved 488.14, 488.14, and 437.43 MFLOPS/watt, respectively.
  3. Energy efficiency hits the mainstream.
    • The energy efficiency of a commodity system based on Intel’s 45-nm low-power quad-core Xeon is now on par with IBM BlueGene/L (BG/L) machines, which debuted in November 2004.
  4. The FLOPS/watt distribution is still skewed from top to bottom but
    • While the energy efficiency of the top-ranked Green500 supercomputer has improved by almost 131,000,000 Flops/watt since November 2007, the bottom-ranked Green500 supercomputer has improved by only 390,000 Flops/watt. Overall, the MFLOPS/watt distribution of the Green500 is skewed with only 28% of the machines acheiving more than 100Mflops/watt (up from 14% last November).
  5. Each of supercomputers in the top ten from this edition of the Green500 has a higher FLOPS/watt rating than the previous #1 Green500 supercomputer.

Based on feedback from e-mails to the Green500 and
from a recent Birds-of-a-Feather session at the International Supercomputing Conference, the Green500 will evolve to be more inclusive for all high-end computing stakeholders.

In closing, we invite you to analyze the data for additional takeaways, and more importantly, to continue to raise awareness in green supercomputing (i.e., energy efficiency in supercomputing). We encourage fair use of the list rankings to promote energy efficiency in high-end computing systems and discourage use of the list to disparage.

Please keep your comments and suggestions for improvement coming via . We look forward to an exciting future for the Green500 and will see you at SC|08 in November.

-- The Green500