Benchmarking advanced architecture computers

P. Messina, E. Felten, P. Hipes, R. Williams, A. Alagar, A. Kamrath, R. Leary, W. Pfeiffer, J. Rogers, D. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Recently, a number of advanced architecture machines have become commercially available. These new machines promise better cost performance than traditional computers, and some of them have the potential of competing with current supercomputers, such as the CRAY X‐MP, in terms of maximum performance. This paper describes the methodology and results of a pilot study of the performance of a broad range of advanced architecture computers using a number of complete scientific application programs. The computers evaluated include: shared‐memory bus architecture machines such as the Alliant FX/8, the Encore Multimax, and the Sequent Balance and Symmetry shared‐memory network‐connected machines such as the Butterfly distributed‐memory machines such as the NCUBE, Intel and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/Caltech hypercubes very long instruction word machines such as the Cydrome Cydra‐5 SIMD machines such as the Connection Machine ‘traditional’ supercomputers such as the CRAY X‐MP, CRAY‐2 and SCS‐40. Seven application codes from a number of scientific disciplines have been used in the study, although not all the codes were run on every machine. The methodology and guidelines for establishing a standard set of benchmark programs for advanced architecture computers are discussed. The CRAYs offer the best performance on the benchmark suite; the shared memory multiprocessor machines generally permitted some parallelism, and when coupled with substantial floating point capabilities (as in the Alliant FX/8 and Sequent Symmetry), provided an order of magnitude less speed than the CRAYs. Likewise, the early generation hypercubes studied here generally ran slower than the CRAYs, but permitted substantial parallelism from each of the application codes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-255
Number of pages61
JournalConcurrency: Practice and Experience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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