Intel-based 'Milky Way 2' debuts as 'world's fastest' supercomputer

The 'surprise' win for the machine also known as Tianhe-2 marks China’s first return to top spot since 2010.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor
Image: Top500

The rankings for the world's top supercomputers has shuffled again as a newcomer from China's National University of Defense Technology has won the number one spot.

The Top500 Supercomputer Sites list, which is updated biannually every June and November, just published its latest rankings.

The newest winner is Tianhe-2 (a.k.a. "Milky Way 2") with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark — more than twice the performance of the top-rated system at the end of November 2012.

The Milky Way 2 runs on 48,000 Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and 32,000 Xeon processors with a combined total of 3,120,000 computing cores.

The processor giant also boasted a big win for itself on this list as it is the first exclusively Intel-based system to take the top spot on the list since 1997.

The Milky Way 2 surpasses the previous title owner, Titan, a Cray XK7 system with a performance record of 17.59 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 261,632 of its NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores.

The "surprise" win for the Tianhe-2 marks China's first return to top spot since 2010. It is scheduled to be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China by the end of 2013.

Authors of the report described the win as surprising because the machine wasn't expected to be ready for another two years.

Titan is currently installed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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