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China dominates top 500 list of supercomputers

Posted: 18 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel? supercomputer? MilkyWay-2? Titan? Sequoia?

Once more, China takes the top spot and nearly triples its number of systems on the top 500 list of supercomputers. The number of supercomputers in U.S. falls to lowest point ever, 201 down from 231 in July 2015.

Hard to believe, but the twice yearly TOP500 List of Supercomputers is celebrating its 46th year this November, timed, as usual, to coincide with the SuperComputer 2015 (SC15) conference in Austin, Texas.

The U.S. has five of the TOP10 positions on the list, and with a wide variety of architectures. China has thrown an enormous amount of money at its MilkyWay-2 (Tianhe-2 in their local lingo) housed by the National Super Computer Centre (Guangzhou, China), using twice as many U.S.-made Intel Xeon and Xeon-Phi processors as its nearest competitor, the 3rd-place IBM Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore National Labs with 1,572,864 Power CPUs.

Tianhe-2 supercomputer

The Chinese are investing in the Tianhe-2 supercomputer to keep it ranked #1 since 1993, using the same Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors as #10 ranked U.S. Texas Advanced Computing Centre at the University of Texas "Stampede," just six-times more of them. (Source: TOP500K)

China has little need for its #1 supercomputer except bragging rights, whereas none of the U.S. supercomputers were specifically designed to win a competition but to address a pressing scientific problem, such as shepherding our aging nuclear arsenal instead of doing illegal underground tests such as North Korea, one of China's few allies and one that could have simulated those nukes.

Top 10 supercomputers

This is the list of the top 10 supercomputers in the world, five of which are in the U.S., only one from China, one from Japan, one from Switzerland, one from Germany and one from Saudi Arabia. (Source: TOP500)

MilkyWay-2, which consumes over 17,808kW, has won six consecutive times, followed by the Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, consuming 8,209kW in a Cray XK7 chassis with 560,640 AMD Opteron 6274 16C 2.2GHz processors, the Cray Gemini interconnect, and an unspecified number of Nvidia K20x GPUs. Gemini's performance and power are about half of the MilkWay-2, namely 27,122 peak teraflops per second compared with 54,902 for MilkyWay-2.

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