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Sunway TaihuLight retains number one spot in TOP500

The 49th edition of the TOP500 list has been released in conjunction with the opening session of the ISC High Performance conference, which is taking place this week in Frankfurt, Germany. The list ranks the world’s most powerful supercomputers based on the Linpack benchmark and is released twice per year.

In the latest rankings, the Sunway TaihuLight, a system developed by China’s National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, maintains its top position. With a Linpack performance of 93 petaflops, TaihuLight is far and away the most powerful number-cruncher on the planet.

Tianhe-2, (Milky Way-2), a system developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) and deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, occupies the number two position with a Linpack mark of 33.9 petaflops.  Tianhe-2 was the number one system in the TOP500 list for three consecutive years, until TaihuLight eclipsed it in June 2016.

The new number three supercomputer is the upgraded Piz Daint, a Cray XC50 system installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS). The upgrade was accomplished with additional NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs, doubling the Linpack performance of the system’s previous mark of 9.8 petaflops in November 2016, which itself was the result of a significant upgrade. Piz Daint’s current Linpack result of 19.6 petaflops enabled the system to climb five positions in the rankings.

As a result of the Piz Daint upgrade, Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, drops to number four in the rankings. Its Linpack mark of 17.6 petaflops has remained constant since it was installed in 2012.

The remaining top 10 are:

  • Sequoia (17.2 petaflops), an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, at number five;
  • Cori (14.0 petaflops), a Cray XC40 system housed at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), at number six;
  • Oakforest-PACS (13.6 petaflops), a Fujitsu PRIMERGY system running at Japan’s Joint Center for Advanced High Performance Computing, at number seven;
  • Fujitsu’s K computer (10.5 petaflops), installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS), at number eight;
  • Mira (8,6 petaflops), an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, at number nine; and
  • Trinity (8.1 petaflops), a Cray XC40 system running at Los Alamos National Laboratory, at number ten.

With the two Chinese supercomputers and one Swiss system occupying the top of the rankings, this is the second time in the 24-year history of the TOP500 list that the United States has failed to secure any of the top three positions.

Aggregate performance on the TOP500 rose to 749 petaflops, a 32 percent jump from a year ago. Such an increase, though, is well below the list’s historical growth rate of approximately 185 percent per year. The slower growth in list performance is a trend that began in 2013, and has shown no signs of reversal.

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