Ireland falls in latest supercomputer rankings

Ireland has fallen out of the top500 list of supercomputers in the world. Ireland’s most powerful supercomputer, Fionn, entered the top500 list in November 2013 at a very credible 358 in the rankings – meaning it was the 358 th ‘fastest’ machine in the world at that time. In the latest list (November 2014) Fionn is now outside the world’s 500 fastest machines. The world of High Performance Computing (HPC) evolves at an astonishing pace and continuous investment is required to maintain a country’s status within the top500 list.

Of course being in the top500 is not the be all and end all. Especially for a small country like Ireland since the top500 takes no account of geographic or capita size. It is therefore probably more relevant to see how Ireland competes with respect to our neighbours. With this is mind we have looked at how Ireland compares to other European Economic Area countries and weighted the profiles by population.

Unfortunately the statistics in this case show a slide in Ireland performance as well. The latest statistics show that compared to the June 2014 statistics Ireland is sliding backwards compared to our European neighbours. Below we show the cores per capita comparisons for June 2014 and the most recent November 2014 results.

Ireland is ideally suited to competing at the highest level in terms of HPC usage and development with numerous advanced programmes on offer (e.g. TCHPC). Furthermore, Ireland’s researchers  can utilise these resources to produce ground breaking research but only if the HPC resources are available to compete on the world’s stage. As it stands Ireland is doing well but at a minimum this must be sustained and realistically must be improved to allow basic research in Ireland to flourish similar to what is happening in our neighbouring countries (see graphs below).


June2014: The number of cores per capita. We take the fastest research supercomputer in each country and weight it by the population.


November 2014: Compared to June 2014 Ireland has fallen compared to our neighbours, with the UK, the Netherlands and Finland (who made a huge jump) all passing us out. And with Denmark entering the list Ireland has moved from 7th to 11th in the comparison chart.





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