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Middle East supercomputers fall down global ranking

Only one supercomputer in Middle East rated in top 100 systems

The twice-yearly listing of global supercomputer systems has only 3 systems in the Middle East in the top 500.
The twice-yearly listing of global supercomputer systems has only 3 systems in the Middle East in the top 500.

Only one supercomputing system in the Middle East is powerful enough to rank in the top 100 systems worldwide, according to the TOP500's latest listing.

The IBM-based Shaheen Blue Gene/P Solution, which is installed at Saudi's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, ranked 85th on the listing, down from 39th place from this time last year.

The TOP500.org listing ranks the leading systems in the world based on the Linpack performance benchmark. The Shaheen system registered maximum performance of 190.9 teraflop/s (one teraflop is one trillion floating point operations per second). Shaheen had originally ranked 14th on its first entry to the list in June 2009. Two other systems installed at Saudi Aramco have fallen outside the top 100, but still rank in the top 500, after being superseded by  more powerful recent supercomputers.

The leading solution on the list was the IBM BlueGene/Q system, named Sequoia, which is installed at the US Department of Energy. Sequoia registered performance of 16.32 petaflops (a quadrillion floating point calculations). Sequoia knocked Japan's Fujitsu-based K Computer, which had performance of 10.51 petaflops, off the top slot, which it has held for the past year.

Systems running on Intel processors, make up the majority of supercomputers on the list, with 372 out of 500 (74.4%). AMD Opteron processors power 12.6% and IBM Power processors 11.6%.

The latest list also shows an increase in the number of systems using accelerators, up to 58 systems from 39 in November 2011, the majority of which are using Nvidia chips.

By vendor, IBM is the leader in both the number of systems (42.6%) and installed total performance (47.5%). HP is second by number of systems (28.2%) and total installed performance (10.2%). By systems, Cray, Appro, SGI and Bull followed with 5.4%, 3.6%, 3.2%, and 3.2% respectively. By performance, Fujitsu was third, with 9.9%, and Cray fourth with 8.9%.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.