The TOP 500 Supercomputers (June 2019) – 100% Linux

The top 500 supercomputers of Planet Earth all use Linux. This has been the case for some time now. Naturally, performance share for Linux is 100%. Indeed, it is great to see Linux dominate the high performance computing platform.

CentOS and the Cray Linux Environment seem to be the popular choices for operating systems. Not surprisingly, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is also represented.

Processors from Intel are commonly used and IBM’s Power9 processors are used as well though not as common. Note, however, that the top 2 supercomputers, Summit and Sierra, use Power9 processors running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

GPUs are also installed in some of the supercomputers as coprocessors. Nvidia cards are usually the choice for the GPU coprocessors, probably due to the vast amount of software supporting Nvidia GPUs for computational tasks. The Summit and Sierra supercomputers use the Nvidia Volta GV100 as coprocessors.

You can generate list statistics for the top 500 supercomputers at this link:

Top 500 Supercomputers: Linux and Others

Linux seems to be a favorite OS for supercomputer makers.  There are distributions like SuSE, RedHat, and even CentOS in the mix.    You can browse the Top 500 website and see that about 89+ % of the OS family being used is Linux.

Some supercomputer vendors prefer to customize their own Linux distribution to adapt it to the unique architecture of their respective machines.  For example, for Cray Inc.’s XT6 and XT5 supercomputers, they use a Cray Linux Environment (CLE) that allows the OS to scale to hundreds of thousands of cores.

It’s good to hear that Linux is given the confidence in handling large amounts of data used in solving numerically big problems.  Good job, Linux!