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Chinese supercomputer stays atop TOP500 list

Chinese supercomputers have retained the two top spots in the TOP500 list, a six-monthly ranking of supercomputers around the world.

The list for June was issued in conjunction with the opening of the ISC High Performance conference in Frankfurt this week.

The Sunway TaihuLight, developed by China’s National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi, retained the first position. It has a Linpack performance of 93 petaflops and is by far the most powerful number-cruncher.

Second place went to Tianhe-2, (Milky Way-2), a system developed by China’s National University of Defence Technology deployed at the National Supercomputer Centre in Guangzho with a Linpack mark of 33.9 petaflops. Tianhe-2 was top of the list for three consecutive years, until TaihuLight outranked it in June 2016.

At number three was a new entrant, the upgraded Piz Daint, a Cray XC50 system installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre. The upgrade involved additional NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs, doubling the Linpack performance from 9.8 petaflops to 19.6 petaflops. This enabled the system to climb five positions in the rankings.

Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, fell to number four, with a Linpack mark of 17.6 petaflops which has been the same since it was installed in 2012.

This is the second time that a US supercomputer has not figured among the top three, the last time being in November 1996.

Only two of the systems on the TOP500 list ran any operating system other than Linux. Back in 1998, only one system was running the free operating system.

The most energy-efficient system was the new TSUBAME 3.0, a modified HPE ICE XA system at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. It achieved 14.110 gigaflops/watt during its 1.998-petaflop Linpack performance run and was 61 on the list.

The remaining positions in the top 10 were:

Sequoia (17.2 petaflops), an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory;

Cori (14.0 petaflops), a Cray XC40 system housed at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre;

Oakforest-PACS (13.6 petaflops), a Fujitsu PRIMERGY system running at Japan’s Joint Centre for Advanced High Performance Computing;

Fujitsu’s K computer (10.5 petaflops), installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS);

Mira (8,6 petaflops), an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory; and

Trinity (8.1 petaflops), a Cray XC40 system running at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.