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Overall Development

When we started our statistics in 1986, just 187 supercomputers had been installed worldwide: Cray 1, Cray XMP, Cray 2, CDC Cyber 205, Hitachi S-810, Fujitsu VP50/100/200, NEC SX2. More than half of them (53%) could be found in USA/Canada, 19%in Japan, 23%in Europe, i.e. 8%in France, resp. Great Britain and Germany 7%alone (Fig. 1.1).

Cray Research was, at this time, already the market leader with 63%of all supercomputers installed worldwide and far ahead of CDC and Fujitsu with 16%each, Hitachi with 4%and NEC with 1%(Fig. 1.2). While in 1986 Fujitsu already had a well established cooperation with Amdahl and Siemens (SAG) in order to export their supercomputers, Hitachi's operations were bound to Japan only.

Six years later, in 1992, the situation had changed tremendously as follows (Fig. 1.3): 530 vector computers had been installed worldwide, but now Japan with 41%was ahead of USA/Canada with 33%and Europe with 22%. Germany with 33%of the European portion had taken over the lead in Europe, followed by France with 25%and Great Britain with 19%.

The worldwide dominance of Japan was agreed upon at this time more or less by all experts in the field, but 1993 our first TOP500 showed [2]-to our greatest surprise-the USA far ahead in supercomputers.

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What was the reason for this discrepancy between the 1992 and 1993 results? As we expected when making up our minds to start with the TOP500 idea the smaller entry level systems of the Japanese manufacturers (e.g. Fujitsu VP30, VP50) installed especially in Japan had been overestimated always in the past, especially in the mid eighties until the beginning of the nineties. Only when the TOP500 list was established it proved the discrepancy.

The dominating role of Cray Research was preserved anyhow with 57%of all vector processor installations worldwide in 1992, ahead of Fujitsu with 27%, NEC 8%and Hitachi 8%(Fig. 1.4). Only 4 vector computer manufacturers were represented in the 1992 market: Cray Research, and Japan Inc. (Fujitsu, NEC and Hitachi). While Hitachi, as already in 1986, was operating in Japan only, NEC faced a lot of problems in the market outside of Japan since marketing and sales are mainly done by themselves. Fujitsu's success in Europe and especially in Germany originated in their strong cooperation with Siemens Nixdorf (SNI), which started early in the eighties.

The 1992 supercomputer market was no longer a vector computer market so to say: The market leader in parallel computers, the US manufacturer Thinking Machines was already represented worldwide with 86 systems installed, mainly with their very successful SIMD machine CM2.

The upcoming MPP vendors, the problem with the entry level models of the vector computer vendors and the powerful `mini supercomputers' (e.g. C3 series of Convex) have been the main reasons to change the basis of our statistics, thus leading to the TOP500 idea in 1992/93.

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Next: Worldwide Statistics-1.51986-1992-1.5 Up: The Mannheim Supercomputer Previous: The Mannheim Supercomputer