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China leads Top500 again

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The inexorable rise of high-performance computing in China continues unabated, with the announcement that a Chinese machine has once again taken the number one spot in the Top500.

The release of the list today also reveals that, for the first time, the United States cannot claim the largest number of systems on the list. China now has 167 systems compared to the USA’s 165 on the list.

The Sunway TaihuLight system has achieved 93 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the LINPACK benchmark. It uses processors that were designed and manufactured entirely in China, as reported in Scientific Computing World last year.

In August China predicted that it would achieve 100 petaflops/s within a year; nine months later it has come extremely close to that goal and has opened a significant gap ahead of United States systems.

The system was developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China. Sunway TaihuLight is twice as fast and three times as efficient as Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer that has claimed the number-one spot on the past six TOP500 lists.

The new system has 10,649,600 cores comprising 40,960 nodes. Peak power consumption under load, running the HPL benchmark, is 15.37MW. This allows the system to grab a place on the Green500 

Tianhe-2 takes the number-two spot in the list, with a LINPACK performance of 33.86 petaflop/s, while Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, claimed third place with 17.59 petaflop/s.

Europe’s share of systems has fallen slightly, from 107 in November to 105 today, with Germany the leader within the continent with 26 systems – this compares to France’s 18 systems, while the UK has 12.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and Martin Meuer of ISC Group, Germany. The list is updated twice a year, and is based on a LINPAC benchmark.

The full top 10 from the list is as follows:

1. Sunway TaihuLight;
2. Tianhe-2;
3. Cray Titan;
4. Sequoia/IBM BlueGene/Q;
5. Fujitsu’ K;
6. Mira/BlueGene/Q;
7. Trinity/Cray X40;
8. Piz Daint/Cray XC30;
9. Hazel Hen, a Cray XC40; and
10. Shaheen II/Cray XC40.