Friday, July 2, 2010
The greenest system listed is a QPACE system that uses the IBM PowerXCell 8i processor. There are actually three tied for the greenest-fastest performance. They are housed at the Julich Supercomputing Centre, University of Regensburg and the University of Wuppertalare. All three produce 773 millions of floating point operations per second (Mflops) per watt.
IBM is also behind the list’s most energy-efficient x86-only cluster. The cluster, ranked 9th, is housed at Mississippi State University.
IBM actually dominates the Top 20 of this energy-efficiency, claiming 17 of the top 20 positions. The exceptions include three systems from China: the Nebulae at the National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen, China, (which shows up as No. 4); the Mole-8.5 Cluster Xeon system at the Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. 8) and Tianhe-1(TH-1) at the National SuperComputer Center in Tianjin/NUDT.
IBM used the list’s publication to publicize the fact that its Aquasar, a hot-water-cooled supercomputer design, is now live in a deployment at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. The technology produces about 450 Mflops per watt. It makes innovative use of the system’s waste heat.
Building energy efficient computing systems and data centers is a staggering undertaking. In fact, up to 50 percent of an average air-cooled data center's energy consumption and carbon footprint today is not caused by computing but by powering the necessary cooling systems to keep the processors from overheating - a situation that is far from optimal when looking at energy efficiency from a holistic perspective.
This video explains on how the technology works: