LINUX MAY well still be viewed as the preserve of 'hobbyists', but there's one category of devices in which Linux rules the market: supercomputers.
According to ZDNet, it's the first time that Linux systems have taken all 500 spots in the TOP500 Supercomputer list - with the last two non-Linux supercomputers dropping off between the lists released in June and November of this year.
November's roundup, as well as marking the dominance of supercomputers, also confirmed that the China has leapt ahead of the US in terms of the total number of supercomputers in use, with a total of 202 versus 143. In June, China had 160 and the US 169. The UK is in sixth place on the list, with just 15 supercomputers.
Linux first popped onto the TOP500 list in 1998, and quickly gained support from that point over the dominant Unix platform. What could unseat it is another more dominant platform, though that seems pretty unlikely at this point.
Quantum computing is one potentially disruptive technology that could see the end of Linux supercomputers.
While China's rising dominance could be the interpretation of these newest results, it's also possible that it could reflect the waning importance of supercomputing in the US and beyond.
Generally, supercomputers are used for computationally intensive tasks, from weather forecasting and climate research to molecular and other scientific modelling.
In some, less demanding, instances coupling otherwise unconnected computers to form a grid network can be used for tasks that would previously have required dedicated supercomputers, a little like the way in which Bitcoin can be mined across a distributed network of devices. µ
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