[Beowulf] Register article on Opteron - disagree

Keith Murphy kmurphy at dolphinics.com
Mon Nov 22 14:33:49 PST 2004

Hi Doug,

However a recent study of new Hummer owners, indicated that low gas mileage 
was their #1 complaint!

Keith Murphy

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Douglas Eadline, Cluster World Magazine" <deadline at linux-mag.com>
To: <john.hearns at clustervision.com>
Cc: <beowulf at beowulf.org>
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 2:09 PM
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Register article on Opteron - disagree

> My top500 rant.
> Using the Top500 to draw any kind of market trends and conclusions is like
> standing outside of a Hummer dealership and asking customers if gas
> millage is important.
> A little data from the other end of the HPC street may be helpful. On my
> very unscientific polls at ClusterWorld.com, I asked recently "how big is
> your cluster"
> http://www.clusterworld.com/pollBooth.pl?qid=14&aid=-1
> Of the 162 responses, 52% said their cluster was under 32 nodes.
> Furthermore I also asked, what processor you expect your next cluster to
> use.
> http://www.clusterworld.com/pollBooth.pl?qid=11&aid=-1
> 53% said Opteron.
> How accurate is this data? I don't know, but if the Register is going to
> draw lines through single data point, then I'll take the liberty and say
> that according to my little survey, most clusters are less than 32 nodes
> and therefore do not show up on the top500 list and are uncounted. In
> addition, Opteron seems to be the processor of choice for clusters.
> Honestly, I don't know how accurate these numbers are, the samples are
> small, and have no way of knowing how random the sampling is.
> I think the next survey question I'm going to ask is how well does my
> application(s) scale. That is, what is the maximum number of processors
> your code can use efficiently. Because, looking at benchmarks for
> a number of processors an order of magnitude higher than your limit is
> well, silly.  Of course some applications can use that many processors,
> but I am guessing that most don't. (You know that whole Amdahl's law 
> thing)
> Doug
> On Sun, 21 Nov 2004 john.hearns at clustervision.com wrote:
>> I spotted this article on The Register.
>> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/19/amd_top500_loss/
>> As someone who has installed Opteron clusters, including what I believe 
>> was the
>> first in the UK (used for computational chemistry, and going strong),
>> I disagree with this article.
>> Opteron are alive and kicking.
>> What's more the article confuses 'supercomputer' with '(super)computer in
>> the Top 500'
>> and also makes no mention of EMT64/Nocona. The artcle says Xeon/Itanium,
>> then goes on to talk about 32 bit Xeon.
>> The fact that there are fewer Opteron based systems in the Top 500 is
>> irrefutable (I didn't know this) but it makes me uneasy to extrapolate
>> this to the impending death of a CPU.
>> I DO agree (and let's have some debate here) that Nocona is bound to make
>> big inroads.
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