China leads 'Top500' ranking of supercomputers

Illustration of supercomputing machines as a bar graph

Next year should be a good year in supercomputing with both Japan and China planning to deploy new machines.

The world's fastest supercomputer, the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight, can reach up to 93 petaflops.

China has 202 systems on the Top500's supercomputer list, with the US comparatively having only 143. Tianhe-2, which is based on Intel chips, was the number one system on the TOP500 list for three consecutive years until Sunway TaihuLight displaced it in June last year. Claimed as the most powerful supercomputer in Europe, Piz Daint was upgraded previous year with NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs. A new system in Japan, called Gyoukou, is the No. 4, pushing Titan, the top U.S system, to the No. 5.

The U.S. ranking is its lowest since the Top500 rankings began 25 years ago, though the country still manages to come in at second place. China has taken over the terms of aggregate performance too, now accounting for 35.4 percent of TOP500 flops, with the second place accounting for 29.6 percent.

Some 202 of the world's fastest supercomputers are in China - compared with 143 in the United States - according to Top500, a site that has tracked supercomputer development for more than two decades.

Supercomputers are vital tools for advanced scientific work due to their ability to perform rapid calculations for everything from weather forecasts to missile development.

"It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the TOP500 ranking, with the US presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list's inception 25 years ago", Top500 said. Just six months ago, the USA led with 169 systems, with China slightly trailing with 160. Overall, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has installed the most systems on the Top 500 List, with 122 supercomputers and HPC systems attached to the company.

China now has more high-performance supercomputers than ever before, again besting the United States in global rankings, a supercomputer tracking organisation said.



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