Now China outguns US in top supercomputer showdown

China already had the world's fastest supercomputer, but now it's crowding out the US in the top 500.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

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China now not only has the fastest supercomputer in the world, but it also has more supercomputers in the list of the 500 fastest than any other nation.

China now has 202 supercomputers in the Top500, up from 159 six months ago when the US still led with 169 supercomputers. Today, the US been eclipsed by China after seeing its Top500 count dwindle to 144.

China also surpassed the US on a measure of aggregate performance, with its supercomputers representing 35.4 percent of the Top500's flops. The US has 29.6 percent and is in second place.

China's Sunway TaihuLight system still reigns supreme with a score of 93.01 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) test. A petaflop is a quadrillion floating-point operations per second

In a distant second is the Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, system, which is capable of 33.86 petaflops.

The US in July saw the Department of Energy's Cray-based Titan supercomputer fall from third spot to fourth after Switzerland's Piz Daint was upgraded with Nvidia's Tesla P100 GPUs.

Titan has been bumped down a rung again thanks to Japan's Gyoukou, a ZettaScaler-2.2 system at Japan's Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, measured at 19.14 petaflops.

High-performance computing capacity is key to a variety of fields, from weather modeling to building weapons and national security systems, as well as automotive, aerospace, and pharmaceutical research.

The five-year-old Titan remains the largest supercomputer in the US and is measured at 17.59 petaflops.

Three other US-based supercomputers occupy positions six to eight, including the six-year-old Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It's measured at 17.17 petaflops.

Trinity, a Cray supercomputer, was recently upgraded with Intel Xeo Phi processors, boosting its 8.10 petaflops mark six months ago to today's 14.14 petaflops. It's operated by the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

Cori, another Cray supercomputer, at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), clocks in at 14.01 petaflops.

The tenth-most powerful supercomputer is Fujitsu's K computer at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, which is measured at 10.51 petaflops.

The leaders in the Top500 supercomputing space are Intel, Cray, and HPE. Intel processors represent 94 percent of all processors in the list's supercomputers.

HPE has the most installed supercomputers at 122. Cray meanwhile represents 19.5 percent of aggregate supercomputer performance.


Titan has been bumped down a rung again, thanks to Japan's Gyoukou, a ZettaScaler-2.2 system.

(Image: Top500)

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