Wu-Chun Feng and Kirk W. Cameron of Virginia Tech have initiated a new system of league tables for supercomputers based on energy efficiency, The Green500 List. They introduce the rankings in an article in the December, 2007 issue of Computer. The article abstract:
The performance-at-any-cost design mentality ignores supercomputers’ excessive power consumption and need for heat dissipation and will ultimately limit their performance. Without fundamental change in the design of supercomputing systems, the performance advances common over the past two decades won’t continue.
As the methodology is still new, and requires some apples-to-oranges comparisons, it’s not surprising that the listings are dominated by one vendor’s architecture. IBM’s Blue Gene takes the top 26 spots in the table, with energy consumption of 204 to 357 megaFLOPS per watt. Slot #500 comes in 2 orders of magnitude lower, at 3.65 megaFLOPS per watt.