More than one-third of the world's most powerful computers with Intel processors inside of them are now deployed in commercial settings, signaling that high performance computing (HPC) is evolving from its academic and research origins to mainstream business usage.

The list of the world's 500 most powerful computers, issued at and in conjunction with the International Supercomputer Conference in Heidelberg, Germany, also reveals that Intel-based systems on the elite TOP500 list totaled 119, more than double the 56 systems on the list only six months ago, and up dramatically from just three on the list three years ago. Nineteen Intel Itanium family-based systems appeared on the list, up from two last time.

In addition, systems with as few as 92 Intel processors are appearing on the list for the first time. These are some of the smallest and most affordable systems to ever make the list delivering better performance at a lower cost vs. many proprietary systems.

The Intel Itanium 2 processor family also broke into the top 10 for the first time. An HP system in use at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, secured the eighth position on the list. Notably, the Intel Xeon processor-based cluster at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved No. 3 on the list, the highest position ever for any cluster. It uses a Quadrics interconnect and was manufactured by Linux Networx. Cluster systems such as this are also being discussed this week at the ClusterWorld show in San Jose, California.

Today, Intel processors, platform architectures, interconnects, networking technology, software tools and services power some of the fastest computers in the world at price points that have expanded HPC beyond the confines of elite supercomputer centers and into the broad community of customer in mainstream industries. Those industries span automotive, aerospace, electronics manufacturing, energy and oil and gas in addition to smaller scientific, research and academic organizations.

Grid computing takes the HPC philosophy and extends it by linking desktops, clusters and large symmetric multiprocessing systems across multiple geographic locations – creating a single, virtual computing resource. This enables the integrated, collaborative use of high-end computing systems, networks, data archives and scientific instruments that are operated and accessed by multiple organizations.

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