China Still Leads The Supercomputing Pack

Country retains its lead in latest TOP500 list of supercomputers.

Network Computing Editors

November 21, 2016

2 Min Read
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China is maintaining its dominance when it comes to supercomputing power, according to the latest list of the most powerful computers. The most recent TOP500 list, which is produced twice a year, was released last week at the SC 16 conference in Salt Lake City. China retained its lead at the top of the list, with No. 1 and No. 2 supercomputers: the Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2.

China and the US are running neck and neck on the supercomputer front: Each has 171 systems in the latest ranking, TOP500 officials said. A year ago, the US had 200 systems in the list compared to China's 108. Germany follows the US and China in the most recent list with 32 systems, followed by Japan with 27, France with 20 and the UK with 17.

To measure supercomputing power, the TOP500 organization uses the Linpack benchmark, with quantifies how fast a dedicated computer system can solve a dense system of linear equations. The Sunway TaihuLight achieved 93 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark while the Tianhe-2 scored 34 petaflops.

The Sunway TaihuLight broke into the spring TOP500 list, winning the top spot by outperforming the previous leader, the Tianhe-2, by a factor of three. According to the TOP500 organization, the system uses a locally developed processor and custom interconnect. It's used for research and engineering work in the areas such as climate and weather modeling, life science, and advanced manufacturing.



The top 10 systems on the TOP500 list haven't changed too much in recent years, but this fall's edition did include two new systems:  The Cori, a Cray XC40 supercomputer at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, and Oakforest-PACS, a Fujitsu PRIMERGY CX 1640 M1 cluster that runs at Japan's Joint Center for Advanced High Performance Computing.

The machines, which both use Intel's Knights Landing Xeon Phi 7250 processor, recorded Linpack ratings of 14 and 13.6 petaflops, respectively.

Here are the top 10 supercomputers and their Linpack ratings from this fall's TOP500 list:

1. Sunway TaihuLight, National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, 93 petaflops.

2. Tianhe-2 (Milky Way 2), National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou, 34 petaflops.

3. Titan -- Cray XK7, US Dept. of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 17.6 petaflops.

4. Sequoia, US National Nuclear Security Administration, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 17.2 petaflops.

5. Cory – Cray XC40, Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, 14 petaflops.

6. Oakforest-PACS, Japan's Joint Center for Advanced High Performance Computing, 13.6 petaflops.

7. K computer, Japan's RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, 10.5 petaflops.

8. Piz Daint – Cray XC50, Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, 9.8 petaflops.

9. Mira, US Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, 8.6 petaflops.

10. Trinity, US Department of Energy, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 8.1 petaflops.

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