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​China's Tianhe-2 still king supercomputer, but US has more systems in top 500

China's Intel-based Tianhe-2 or 'Milky Way 2' remains the top dog in the world of supercomputers.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributor on

China still has the fastest supercomputer in the world - but the country's share of the top 500 high performance systems has dropped by half in the last six months.

China's Tianhe-2 or 'Milky Way 2' is still the world's number one supercomputer, according to top500.org's list of the the Top500 list released today. The system was clocked on the Linpack benchmark at 33.86 petaflops (quadrillions of calculations per second). The Intel-based system installed at the National Super Computer Centre in Guangzhou first took the top spot back in 2013 with the same level of performance.

The runner-up in the rankings was Titan, the Cray XK7 system run by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which hit 17.59 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark.

Others in the top 10 of the world's fastest supercomputers include DOE's IBM BlueGene/Q Sequoia, measured at 17.1 petaflops; Japan's Fujitsu K computer, clocked at 10.51 petaflops; and the DOE's IBM BlueGene/Q Mira, which was reached 8.58 petaflops.

The only new entrant in the top 10 was Shaheen II, a Cray XC40 system installed at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. It debuted at number seven, with 5.536 petaflops. It is the highest-ranked Middle East system in the 22-year history of the list and the first to crack the Top 10, Top500 noted.

Although China's Tianhe-2 leads the pack, the US remains the nation with the most supercomputers in the top 500: it has 233 high performance systems in the list, up from 231 six months ago. Top500 noted however that the number of US-based systems on the list is at historical lows.

The number of Chinese systems in the top 500 has fallen from 61 last November to 37 in the current list. Meanwhile, the number of European system has climbed to 141 from 130 over the same period, while Japanese systems rose to 39, up from 32.

Still, according to Top500, Chinese companies' influence in the supercomputing industry is rising thanks to Lenovo, which has three systems in the top 500 under its own brand and another 20 jointly with IBM.

According to Top 500, HP has the most systems in the top 500 with 178, and a 35.6 percent share, followed by IBM with 111 systems and a 22.2 percent share, while Cray remains third with 71 systems and 14.2 percent share.

As noted by HPC Guru, on the processor front Intel still dominates the supercomputer field with 86 percent of systems running its chips, followed by IBM with an eight percent share and AMD at 4.4 percent.

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