China, U.S. Retain Tops Spots on Global Supercomputers List

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-11-17
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    China, U.S. Retain Tops Spots on Global Supercomputers List
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    China, U.S. Retain Tops Spots on Global Supercomputers List

    There has been little change in the top 10 list of the world's fastest supercomputers, with Chinese and U.S. designs keeping their lock on the top five spots.
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    The Sunway TaihuLight Leads the Way
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    The Sunway TaihuLight Leads the Way

    There’s no stopping the Sunway TaihuLight. The China-housed supercomputer delivers an impressive 93 petaflops per second (quadrillions of calculations per second) of performance. It comes with more than 10.6 million cores inside its Sunway SW26010 chips, more than triple those of the second-place competitor.
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    China’s Tianhe-2 Stays Firmly in Second Place
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    China’s Tianhe-2 Stays Firmly in Second Place

    Once the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-2 has been in second place for quite some time now. Still, it’s exceedingly fast, at 33.8 petaflops per second. It has more than 3.1 million cores, easily topping every supercomputer aside from the Sunway TaihuLight. It’s spinning away at the National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou, China.
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    Cray's Titan Holds Strong at No. 3
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    Cray's Titan Holds Strong at No. 3

    The first U.S.-based supercomputer to make the list, the Titan delivers 17.6 petaflops per second of power from its AMD Opteron 6274 processors. The Titan, built by Cray, has more than 560,000 cores.
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    Sequoia Remains IBM's Most Powerful Computer
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    Sequoia Remains IBM's Most Powerful Computer

    The Sequoia finds itself just behind the Titan in the latest list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. Sequoia is IBM’s most powerful machine with 17.1 petaflops per second of power. It has more than 1.5 million cores and, of course, runs on IBM’s own chips.
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    The Cori Cray Moves into Fifth Place
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    The Cori Cray Moves into Fifth Place

    Cray also takes the fifth spot this time around with Cori, a supercomputer featuring 622,000 cores and 14 million petaflops a second. Like the Tianhe-2, Intel is powering the Cori, which is residing at a research center in Berkeley, California.
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    The Upcoming Oakforest-PACS Powerhouse
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    The Upcoming Oakforest-PACS Powerhouse

    The Oakforest-PACS will be fully operational in Japan’s Joint Center for Advanced High Performance Computing starting Dec. 1. But it’s already made an impression, thanks to its more than 556,000 cores that are delivering 13.6 petaflops per second. It was built by Fujitsu, making it the most powerful supercomputer built by that company.
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    Former Champion K Computer Hangs on to Seventh Place
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    Former Champion K Computer Hangs on to Seventh Place

    The old stalwart K computer, deemed the world's fastest supercomputer in November 2011, is still hanging on, in seventh place. The Fujitsu-designed supercomputer features SPARC64 processors with more than 705,000 cores. It’s plenty powerful at 10.5 petaflops per second, but soon will be replaced by a new “Post-K” computer that will run on ARM-based processors.
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    Switzerland Makes an Appearance with Piz Daint
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    Switzerland Makes an Appearance with Piz Daint

    Switzerland’s only supercomputer in the top 10, the Piz Daint, has fewer cores than any other machine in this roundup at nearly 207,000. However, its Intel Xeon E5 processors can deliver solid power to the tune of 9.8 petaflops a second. It’s working at the Swiss National Supercomputing Center.
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    IBM's Blue Gene/Q Mira is Another Former Champion
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    IBM's Blue Gene/Q Mira is Another Former Champion

    IBM’s Mira nabbed the ninth spot for performance, thanks in no small part to its 786,000 cores. The supercomputer’s power, which comes from Power BQC architecture, measures 8.6 petaflops per second. Mira was the world's fastest supercomputer from October 2010 until June 2011.
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    Cray Trinity Holds Down 10th Place
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    Cray Trinity Holds Down 10th Place

    Cray holds three of the top 10 spots in the list of most powerful supercomputers. The least-powerful of the triplet is the Trinity, delivering 8.1 petaflops of power across its more than 301,000 cores. It’s in operation at the Los Alamos National Lab.
 

The 48th edition of the Top500 supercomputer list, which is updated twice a year, contains few surprises. As with previous lists, China and the United States continue to lead other technologically advanced countries around the world in building advanced supercomputers. In fact, the two countries’ companies own more than two-thirds of the world’s fastest supercomputers. They’re followed on the list by Germany, Japan and France, which still have a long way to go to catch up to the leaders. It’s a similar story in the top 10, where few supercomputers changed their positions on the list from June’s report. The top three supercomputers listed in June remain in the same spots, while two supercomputer newcomers were able to break into the top 10. As in years past, Intel continues to be the dominant chipmaker and components from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise are still used in most systems. This slide show will cover today's 10 most powerful supercomputers, according to the list, and the features that earned them their ranking.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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