Linux rules supercomputing. This day has been coming since 1998, when Linux first appeared on the TOP500 Supercomputer list. Today, it finally happened: All 500 of the world's fastest supercomputers are running Linux.
The last two non-Linux systems, a pair of Chinese IBM POWER computers running AIX, dropped off the November 2017 TOP500 Supercomputer list.
Overall, China now leads the supercomputing race with 202 computers to the US' 144. China also leads the US in aggregate performance. China's supercomputers represent 35.4 percent of the Top500's flops, while the US trails with 29.6 percent. With an anti-science regime in charge of the government, America will only continue to see its technological lead decline.
When the first Top500 supercomputer list was compiled in June 1993, Linux was barely more than a toy. It hadn't even adopted Tux as its mascot yet. It didn't take long for Linux to start its march on supercomputing.
In 1993/1994, at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Donald Becker and Thomas Sterling designed a Commodity Off The Shelf (COTS) supercomputer: Beowulf. Since they couldn't afford a traditional supercomputers, they build a cluster computer made up of 16 Intel 486 DX4 processors, which were connected by channel bonded Ethernet. This Beowulf supercomputer was an instant success.
To this day, the Beowulf design remains a popular, inexpensive way of designing supercomputers. Indeed, in the latest Top500 list, 437 of the world's fastest computers are using cluster designs that owe a debt of gratitude to Beowulf.
From when it first appeared on the Top500 in 1998, Linux was on its way to the top. Before Linux took the lead, Unix was supercomputing's top operating system. Since 2003, the Top500 was on its way to Linux domination By 2004, Linux had taken the lead for good.
"Linux [became] the driving force behind the breakthroughs in computing power that have fueled research and technological innovation," as reported in The Linux Foundation's 20 years of Top500.org supercomputer data links Linux with advances in computing
performance. In other words, Linux is dominant in supercomputing, at least in part, because it is helping researchers push the limits on computing power.
This happened for two reasons: First, since most of the world's top supercomputers are research machines built for specialized tasks, each machine is a standalone project with unique characteristics and optimization requirements. To save costs, no one wants to develop a custom operating system for each of these systems. With Linux, however, research teams can easily modify and optimize Linux's open-source code to their one-off designs.,,,,,,,,,,,,