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US and China continue to lead the Top500

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As SC19 begins in Denver there has been a new release of the Top500 list which has seen China improve the total number of systems featured on the list while the US holds the top spot for the total performance of systems in the Top500.

The top ten positions on the November Top500 remain unchanged with Summit and Sierra taking the first and second while the Chinese system, Sunway TaihuLight takes the third spot.

The aggregate performance of systems on the list reaches a new high of 1.65 exaflops and the point of entry for new systems now sits at 1.14 petaflops, up from 1.02 petaflops in the previous list from June 2019.

The most powerful new supercomputer on the list is AiMOS, which has taken the 24th spot delivering 8.0 petaflops in the HPL benchmark. The IBM-built system is installed at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Computational Innovations (CCI), and like Summit, Sierra, and Lassen, it is equipped with Power9 CPUs and NVIDIA V100 GPUs. 

The number of TOP500 installations in China continues to rise and now sits at 227, up from 219 six months ago. Meanwhile, the share of US-based system remains near its all-time low at 118. However, systems in the US are on average significantly larger, which translated to a 37.8 per cent share of the list’s aggregate performance. China is close behind with a 31.9 per cent performance share. However, compared to six months ago, this performance gap has shrunk. The June 2019 list had the US with a 38.4 per cent of the list’s aggregate performance and China with 29.9 per cent.

Japan remains in third place in the number of TOP500 systems, with 29, followed by France with 18, Germany with 16, the Netherlands with 15, Ireland with 14, and the United Kingdom with 11. All other countries remain on single digits.

As a reflection of China’s large number of total systems, the top three system vendors with regard to the number of installations are Lenovo, (174), Sugon (71), and Inspur (65). Cray is number four, with 36 systems, and HPE is number five, with 35. Note that Cray is now part of HPE, so taken together they would effectively tie Sugon with 71 systems.

At the chip level, Intel continues its dominance. Its processors are present in 470 of the 500 systems, split between multiple generations of Xeon and Xeon Phi hardware. IBM is second with 14 systems – 10 with Power CPUs and four with Blue Gene/PowerPC CPUs. AMD claims just three systems on the current list.

There are now two Arm-based supercomputers on the list: the Astra system deployed at Sandia National Laboratories, which is equipped with Marvell’s ThunderX2 processors, and Fujitsu’s A64FX prototype system, a precursor to the Fugaku (Post-K) exascale system destined for RIKEN in 2021. The Fujitsu machine is new to the list and occupies position 159, with an HPL performance of 2.0 petaflops.

Green500 results

The related Green500 list, which measures the energy-efficiency of the world’s top supercomputers, has changed considerably compared to six months ago. Number one on the list is the aforementioned A64FX prototype supercomputer, which delivered 16.9 gigaflops/watt. Just slightly less green at number two system is NA-1, a Zettascaler machine that uses PEZY Computing’s PEZY-SC2 processors and delivers 16.3 gigaflops/watt. It is being readied for a future installation at NA Simulation in Japan.

The third-ranked Green500 system is the new AiMOS system from IBM, followed by two more IBM systems based on the same Power9/NVIDIA V100 design: Satori at 15.6 gigaflops/watt and Summit at 14.7 gigaflops/watt. The remaining top 10 Green500 systems on the list – AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure, MareNostrum P9 CTE, TSUBAME 3.0, PANGEA III, and Sierra – also use NVIDIA GPU accelerators.

HPCG results

The two top-ranked Summit and Sierra supercomputers on the TOP500, also remain in the top two spots on the list based on the High-Performance Conjugate Gradient (HPCG) benchmark. Summit achieved 2.93 HPCG-petaflops, with Sierra at 1.80 HPCG-petaflops. All the remaining top 10 HPCG entries, delivered less than one HPCG-petaflops. With the exception of the now-decommissioned K-computer, all 10 of these systems carried over from the previous list six months ago.