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Linux dominates supercomputing | Network World

In addition to all its other successes, Linux dominates supercomputing: All 500 of the worlds fastest supercomputers run Linux, and that has been the case since November 2017, according to the TOP500 organization, which has been ranking the 500 most powerful computer systems since 1993. (A graph of Linux’ ascension is available on here.)

How did this happen?

A little history

Linux began life in 1991 as the personal project of 21-year-old Finnish student Linus Torvalds. I first became aware of it several years later while working at Johns Hopkins University’s physics and astronomy department where I managed the department’s network and a number of servers with the help of a couple grad students.

At the time, I was intrigued by Linux, but couldn’t imagine how dominant the OS would become simply because its source code was available to anyone who wanted to work with it. I could not forsee that a significant group of large companies would grasp its value, work together and innovate to make Linux what it is today. Intense collaboration was key to this success, including contributions from countless individuals and organizations that includes IBM, Intel, NVIDIA, Red Hat, Samsung, SUSE and many others. (Browsing the corporate members of the Linux Foundation is likely to make your jaw drop.)

The success of Linux can also be attributed to the fact that it is open source, non-proprietary, and extendable.

The TOP500

Twice a year, in June and November, TOP500 releases it a list of the 500 most powerful computer systems ranked by their performance on something called the LINPACK Benchmark, which calls for the computer being tested to solve a dense system of linear equations.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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