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Accelerators Boost Supercomputer Green Credentials

Supercomputers that use accelerators, such as separate graphics chips, to relieve some of the load from the system's central processor are more energy efficient than those that don't.

The finding is revealed in the new Green500 list of the most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world. The chart has has been created by the people behind the Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers.

The list points out that the top eight supercomputers featured in the Green500 list use an accelerator to enhance CPU performance, which saves energy.

In a statement to eWeek Europe, Wu Feng, the founder of the Green500 list, said: “The accelerator-based supercomputers on the Green500 [are] more than three times more energy-efficient than their non-accelerated counterparts on the list.”

The CPU accelerators are created by chip maker AMD and its rival Nvidia. Experts at Nvidia claim that GPUs with parallel processing capabilities have the ability to enhance the performance of a supercomputer while consuming less energy.

Supercomputers in the list that used accelerators managed to perform at an average speed of 554 Mflops (millions of floating point operations) per Watt of power. Those without averaged only 181 Mflops per Watt.