Super Computers – All You Probably Didn't Want To Know

I like playing with computers. I’ve played with some pretty big ones in the old days – but that was a long time ago, when computers were a lot simpler. Today a friend referred me to an article in the BBC about Super Computers – the sort of machines you use to predict hurricanes, or volcanic eruptions. The Beeb has a really neat interactive chart – go take a look at it. You can pull up all sorts of information, such as what is the most popular operating system.

Now most of use are never going to see a super computer, or get to use one, just like most of use are never going to get to drive a Formula One car. But like with cars, the technology used in super computers will trickle down to the business and consumer markets at some point – in fact it already has. It’s pretty hard to buy a singe core processor now – the dual core processors in most home computers use technology that was originally designed for super computers and other high end machines. So it was interesting to look at what the most common operating system was. It was Linux.

As I said, technology trickles down. If the most advanced computers built use Linux, there has to be a damned good reason for it. And there is. Linux is the most advanced operating system currently available, far more advanced than Mac OSX or Microsoft Windows.

For anyone who wants to look at the raw data, it’s available at the Top 500 site. Just think, out of the 500 fastest computers on the planet, Linux is used on 455 of them, over 90%, Microsoft Windows is used on 5 of them, exactly 1.0%, and Mac OSX isn’t used at all.

So maybe your next computer will run Linux.


Wayne Borean

Monday May 31, 2010


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