The list TOP500 from June 2018 shows that Linux still rules 100% of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, a monopoly that on the one hand shows the power of this operating system when it comes to being used in these environments, although on the other hand the presence of a competitor could be missed (if possible also Open Source).
That Linux takes 100% in the TOP500 is nothing new, but it is something of what we reported in November of last year. With this panorama, possibly the most interesting thing now is to focus on certain technological trends and on the competition between the same supercomputers, being able to lead the current situation to a rivalry between the two greatest powers in the world: the United States and China.
As reported in ZDNet, if in November of last year the two fastest supercomputers in the world were Chinese, specifically the Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2A, the United States has recently recovered the first place through Summit, of which we already reported in its day specifying some of its characteristics. For its part, Sierra, also American, has taken third place, while the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2A currently rank second and fourth respectively. To possibly further assert its American origin, although without questioning the quality of the operating system, both Summit and Sierra use Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
In addition to the more than possible competition between the United States and China, what stands out the most is the trend of using more and more GPUs. For the first time in history most of the additional power has been added via GPU and not CPU. 56% of the FLOPS added to the TOP500 supercomputers come from the use of GPUs NVIDIA Tesla, the line dedicated to high performance computing (HPC) of the company based in Santa Clara.
As we can see, beyond the possible rivalry between countries and the upward trend in the use of GPUs, GNU / Linux continues to be the absolute dominator as an operating system to govern the fastest supercomputers in the world. Do you think this monopoly is good or would it be better for a competitor to emerge to avoid a slowdown in innovation?