China hits #1 on Top 500 supercomputer list

Tianjin National Supercomputer Center's Tianhe-1A system wallops previous #1 from US

A new supercomputer installation in China has rocketed to the top of the twice-annual ranking of the world's most powerful supercomputers.

In the latest ranking, [released Sunday], the Tianjin National Supercomputer Center's Tianhe-1A system benchmarked a performance of 2.67 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second), surpassing the former top achiever, the US Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility's Cray XT5 Jaguar system, which clocked in at 1.75 petaflops in this round.

China's ascendancy to the head of the Top500.org list seems to be sudden: Word of this new system [was first reported last month by The New York Times]. Its placement ends a six-year run on the top of the list by the U.S., which started when the DOE's IBM BlueGene/L system stole the top spot from Japan's Earth Simulator system, built by NEC. The Earth Simulator system itself was the [source of much consternation] on the part of the U.S. Congress, which set aside money for the DOE to build systems that would re-establish the country's lead in high-performance computing.

[It remains to be seen whether] China's growing prominence on this list will cause a similar reaction. With 42 systems on the list, China has become the second-most-prominent country here, though it still trails by a large margin the U.S., which has 275 systems. Last June, China had only 24 systems on the list.

"Governments around the world are recognizing the deployment of this technology is a prerequisite to sustaining economic competitiveness," vice-president of deep computing for IBM, Dave Turek, said. "It lets you do better product designs, basic research, life sciences, fundamental research in materials."

The DOE does not appear to be standing still. Its Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plans to unveil the IBM Sequoia system in 2012 that will exceed 20 petaflops. Also that year, the DOE's Argonne National Lab should have its next-generation IBM Blue Gene supercomputer running, which will offer 10 petaflops.

The TOP500 list is compiled twice a year by researchers at the University of Mannheim, Germany; the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Participation, which is voluntary, requires that the computer run the [Linpack benchmark], a set of routines that solve linear equations.

In this iteration, seven systems achieved a performance of 1 petaflop or better. Three of these systems reside in the U.S., two in China, and one each in France and Japan.

Intel dominates the list in terms of processors. A total of 406 systems are now using Intel chips, though this is down slightly from June, when 408 Intel-based systems were on the list. Intel competitor Advanced Micro Devices has supplied processors for 57 systems. Twenty-eight systems use GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) to help with calculations.

On the system provider side, IBM and Hewlett-Packard are the leaders. IBM has 200 systems on the list and HP has 158 systems.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags HPTianjin National Supercomputer Center's Tianhe-1A systemIBMUS Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility's Cray XT5 Jaguar systemSupercomputer

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zoe Mutter

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?