Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

China is now the supercomputer capital of the world

HP Enterprise is the top maker of supercomputers in late 2017 as measured by the number of machines on the Top500 list of the world's most powerful systems Enlarge Image
Conrad Doyle | 14 November, 2017, 15:25

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China continues to dominate the top 500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers by not only claiming the top two positions, but also outpacing the United States in the total number of ranked systems.

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 U.S. presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list's inception 25 years ago. The US was leading the race with 169 supercomputers only six months ago, followed by China with 159 systems. These systems can handle a billion billion calculations a second, or one exaflop.

Next year should be a good year in supercomputing with both Japan and China planning to deploy new machines. Cray and Microsoft recently announced a partnership to deliver HPC resources through the Azure cloud.

The Sunway TaihuLight, an HPC system developed by China's National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC), retains its number one ranking with a performance of 93 petaflops.

The processing speeds of a supercomputer are measured in floating points operations per second, or "flops".

Another Chinese supercomputer called Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, has once again occupied the number two position with 33.86 petaflops.

If China successfully develops a super supercomputer prototype this coming summer, it will take the lead in an worldwide race to a build a system capable of one quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second. It has a capacity of 9.6 petaflops.

Taking the third and fourth slots on the performance list are supercomputers from Switzerland and Japan, respectively, while the American "Titan" sits at fifth. Gyoukou clocks in at 19.14 petaflops.

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