China takes supercomputing crown from US

China takes supercomputing crown from US

Summary: A Chinese supercomputer Milky Way-2 has toppled the US Titan system from the number one spot in the latest TOP500 list of the most powerful computers in the world.

TOPICS: Hardware

A Chinese supercomputer has taken the top spot in a list of the fastest machines on the planet – demonstrating almost twice the performance of the US computer that previously held the title.

The Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, a supercomputer developed by China's National University of Defense Technology, is the most powerful computer in the world according to the TOP500 list

It takes the top spot from Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which drops to number two in the latest list.

The Milky Way 2 recorded 33.86 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark, compared to the Titan's score of 17.59 petaflops.

The two top machines rely on very different architectures. Milky Way 2 has 16,000 nodes, each with two Intel Xeon IvyBridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors, for a combined total of 3,120,000 computing cores.

Meanwhile the Titan relies on 261,632 NVIDIA Tesla K20x GPU accelerator cores. Titan is one of the most energy efficient systems on the list, consuming a total of 8.21 MW and delivering 2,143 Mflops per Watt.

Milky Way-2 will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China by the end of the year.

Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, also dropped one position and is now at number three in the list. Sequoia was first delivered in 2011 and has achieved 17.17 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark using 1,572,864 cores.

Sequoia is also one of the most energy efficient systems on the list, consuming a total of 7.84 MW and delivering 2,031.6 Mflops per Watt.

China's Milky Way-2 supercomputer. Photo: TOP500

Fujitsu's "K computer" installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan, is the number four system, with a performance of 10.51 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores.

A second BlueGene/Q system, Mira, installed at Argonne National Laboratory is at number five with 8.59 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark using 786,432 cores.

Rounding out the Top 10 are the upgraded Stampede at the Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas, Austin; JUQUEEN at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany - the most powerful system in Europe; an IBM BlueGene/Q system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; SuperMUC, an IBM iDataplex system installed at Leibniz Rechenzentrum in Germany; and Tianhe-1A at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China.

A total of 54 systems on the list are using accelerator/co-processor technology, down from 62 in the last list in November 2012. Thirty-nine of these use NVIDIA chips, three use ATI Radeon, and 11 systems use Intel Xeon Phi.

Total combined performance of all 500 systems has grown to 223 petaflops, compared to 162 petaflops six months ago and 123 petaflops one year ago.

The results of the list were revealed at the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig in Germany yesterday.

Topic: Hardware


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • Oh Great!

    It won't be long now and the Chinese will crack all my passwords.
    • yes, about 3 seconds after you created it

      Possibly 4...
  • China's Milky Way-2 supercomputer

    What's inside this Super is actually Chinese? - it is packed with CPUs from Intel. the only thing Chinese in this Super is - it was assembled in China from US and other Euro companies parts that in turn are now all these companies manufacture in China. I bet Chinese designed a cool shroud for it - the rest of design was cyber-stolen! I call it a LEGO supercomputer. Besides the point - who need this computer power nowadays? I have no doubts if any of the advanced countries As Japan, N Korea or even their own(in the past) Taiwan, leave along US would need this computing power they would do it with no fuss in much more elegant way. This is just another publicity stunt by the Communist regime. Besides being 1-st is becoming politically incorrect in in US - let's give breezing room to our economical adversaries. Never the less - fact that this kind of speeds in computing are readily achievable now days is stunning, at the same time is meaningless to the most people in the world... just like the words billions or trillions of dollars.. ;o) Comparison scale like about apple and oranges need to be provided by the writers of this article so others can understand words like "petaflops"
    • Only the CPU's are not Chinese

      Everything else were designed and built by the Chinese
      Phillip Woon
      • The CPUs are the computer though.

        Everything else just supports them. The processors are what does all the calculations and those aren't Chinese so it's kind of silly to call it a Chinese made computer...
  • AGoretoy: "I bet Chinese designed a cool shroud for it"

    "the rest of design was cyber-stolen!"

    Apple, anyone? Does this thing run FreeBSD ... err, OS X?

    P.S. Otherwise, a really, really nice rant. :)
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Runs Kylin Linux

      “Jack Dongarra from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory reported technical details of the TH-2 system on his visit to NUDT during an International HPC Forum (IHPCF) in Changsha China recently.”

      Kylin Linux
    • Re:"the rest of design was cyber-stolen!"

      "the rest of design was cyber-stolen! Apple, anyone? Does this thing run FreeBSD ... err, OS X?"

      This is really pathetic: do some research.

      Apple's OS X is based on an independent implementation on the XNU kernel. Some of the OS X system utilities and the older compilers were based on FreeBSD forks, but in a way that was completely consistent with Open Source licensing. Furthermore, Apple contribute back to the Open Source community via Darwin.

      (Does Android do this for GNU/Linux? I don't know. If they do, and if they release the source code back to the open source community then they're no better or worse than Apple.)

      Compare this with Microsoft, who strong-arm GNU/Linux and Android phone and tablet makers claiming they own unspecified patents that are crucial to these systems, but which they're will to "overlook" for a US$10/device fee.

      In the open source community, Apple are saints compared to Microsoft and Android are (at best) on a par with Apple.
      • Yeah, it was tongue and cheek

        It was the line from the article, "I bet Chinese designed a cool shroud for it", that really made me think of Apple. But, you must admit, Apple has done wonders implementing and repackaging existing technologies in their products.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Ooops!

          Sorry about that: my mistake.

          I was puzzled about the criticisms of the Milky Way 2's packaging. At least with Beowulf clusters, there really isn't a lot to the (HW) design beyond ensuring that the speeds of the computing nodes and the networks are compatible, and that the system has good cooling that still allows access to boards for replacement.

          (I haven't checked whether the Milky Way 2 is a Beowulf cluster. While the top 500 supercomputer list is packed with such clusters, the fastest ten occasionally include an innovative 'topology'.)

          Apple have done "wonders implementing and repackaging existing technologies in their products": I bet the Airport Express/Extreme, the Apple TV share a lot of crucial subsystems taken from iPhones and iPads.
  • wow

    Well i guess its time for us to build a machine with 52 million cores thats 50000 times faster. Maybe someone should build one using the new APU Opteron Platform with 52 Million APU's to cyber slap the chinese with hahaha
  • I Saw The Light

    All this came about because wonderful Republican president "Tricky Dick" Nixon opened up free trade with China.
    Is everybody happy now?
    Hopefully they will have the same success with this machine they have with the junk they ship to the US. I'll break in just a few months if not a few weeks!
    • Junk to US

      The only reason they send junk to the US is that americans are the only ones to buy the stuff.
    • Lenovo called

      They said they make the toughest, most reliable machines on the market. I've never killed one yet, I've got two running and one backup machine folded away because it still works but I no longer have a use for it. I could plug it up and turn it on right now and it'd still work, and I bought it in '05. The other one is older still, but I only use it as a music / media player so it's all I need for the application.
      Han Rasmussen
  • Wonder If It Will Break The NEC Earth Simulator's Record

    That machine was number one on the Top500 for about two years. I don't think any other machine has managed that, before or since.
  • nVidia GPU failure

    Ah dammit! it's the BGA thang again!
    we're gonna hafta reball all these in the oven....
  • Gods DAYUM that machine is beautiful

    It's like porn, so amazing. I'd love to just work in that room to be near it.
    Han Rasmussen
    • Re: I'd love to just work in that room to be near it

      You would not want to be in that room for long.
    • Yes, it has EVERYTHING !!!

      A box, and pretty flashing lights, did I mention a box ?
  • Kylin and UbuntuKylin are interesting.

    ...But I don't think it's made in an English version. I think it's poised to be very popular in China though. Or maybe you can run it through a Google Translator. :)