Monday, 25 June 2018 23:28

US regains top position in latest TOP500 supercomputer list Featured

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Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The US has regained the number one position in the six-monthly TOP500 supercomputer rankings with a brand new Summit supercomputer measured at a sustained 122.3 petaFLOPs (with a transient maximum of 187.7).

Despite recent promises of 200 petaFLOPs in the speculative media, the brand-new Summit supercomputer's performance was still sufficient to easily overtake the record-holder for the past two years — China's Sunway TaihuLight — still reporting a speed of 93 petaFLOPs, first recorded in June 2016.

Summit has 4356 nodes, each with two 22-core Power9 CPUs, and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. Broadly, the Power9 CPUs are used for task management and the GPUs perform the majority of the actual computational work. Summit is installed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where Titan (a previous record-holder and now ranked seventh) is still based.

The top 272 systems now exceed 1 petaFLOPs and entry to position 500 requires 715.6 teraFLOPs. Summit is also rated as the fourth-most energy-efficient supercomputer, achieving 13.9 GFLOPs/watt.

The US has just 124 systems on the list, while China has increased its representation to 206 total systems, compared to 202 on the November 2017 list. However, thanks mainly to Summit and Sierra, the US did manage to take the lead back from China in the performance category. Systems installed in the US now contribute 38.2% of the aggregate installed performance, with China second with 29.1%.

The next most prominent countries are Japan, with 36 systems, the UK, with 22 systems, Germany with 21 systems, and France, with 18 systems.  Australia has five systems in the list (the highest being at position 102) and New Zealand just one system (at position 321).

Intel CPUs are used in 476 systems, with IBM Power processors in 13 of the remainder. All 500 systems in the list are running a high-performance computing version of Linux.

The TOP500 list is compiled in June and November of each year by Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and Martin Meuer of ISC Group, Germany. The full report may be seen here

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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