The historical aspects of HPCN in Germany and other European countries have been discussed in the last issue of the TOP500 report.
First the actual situation, again 48 machines entered the list, with an of 267 Gflops/s this nearly doubled the available performance. Of these systems 25 have been installed since the publishing of the 1994 report. So Germany is equipped with new computers. This year academia has installed 20 (122 Gflops/s) systems compared to 14 (95 Gflops) in research and 13 (50 Gflops) in industry. Compared to 1994, academia has risen its by a factor of 2.5, research by 40% and industry doubled. Even the fastest machine, the T3D at ZIB came to rank 38 instead of 61 last year. This shows that Germany invested a lot of money in HPC.
Concerning the vendors, nearly every machine offered in the market is installed in Germany, 3 Convex (10 Gflops/s ), 8 Crays (69 Gflops/s), 6 Fujitsu/SNIs (26 Gflops/s), 10 IBMs (60 Gflops/s), 1 Intel (4 Gflops/s), 1 KSR (4 Gflops/s), 2 NEC (23 Gflops/s), 6 Parsytec 33 Gflops/s), 10 SGI (32 Gflops/s) and 1 TMC (4 Gflops/s). This gives German researchers a good opportunity to study the different architectures, their performances and weak points.
Industry seems to change its strategy, although automotive industry invests in vector processors like Cray and NEC, BMW is downsizing. They use three major SGI Power Challenge machines with 18, 14 and 12 processors. The same happens in chemistry, Bayer has installed three 12-processor systems, BASF only one. What will happen next year, perhaps this underlines the SMP trend in industry. On the other hand the CMOS vector processors by Fujitsu/SNI and NEC are just being installed, will the have influence as departemental vector machines?
So some new and interesting activities are just going on in Germany that may have some influence on supercomputing in Europe and worldwide.
The German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) published a report with recommendations on the supply of academia and research with high-performance computing. Using the 1994 TOP500 list, they saw that Germany is dramatically falling behind in this field. Only small and medium size machines are available for this community. The most powerful machines could be find on rank 61, 98 and 106 in this list. Although there are ongoing research activities, the very big machines are missing. With a major financial push it is possible to get close to the other leading countries. They recommended to install 2 to 4 national German supercomputer centres that serve German academia without requesting money from the different counties. This report influenced the German Government and first positive results can be seen.