China is now the supercomputer capital of the world

Joanna Estrada
November 14, 2017

The top-ranked list of systems didn't change much with the latest rankings, with the Sunway TaihuLight-developed by China's National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology-remaining in the top spot.

"It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the Top500 ranking", the survey said on Monday, "with the U.S. presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list's inception".

China's Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, is still the No. 2 system at 33.86 petaflops.

The total number of supercomputers on the list using Intel processors rose to 94.2%, up from 92.8% six months ago.

The US rounded out the top five with Titan, a Cray XK7 system that is capable of 17.59 petaflops.

"For the second time in a row there is no system from the USA under the TOP3", Top500 said in a statement.

According to the Green500 rankings, Gyoukou isn't the most efficient computer in the world - in that it's beaten by three other Japanese systems built with the Pezy-SC2 accelerators and a US one built with Nvidia Tesla V100s - but it's by far the fastest system to prove so efficient. In aggregate performance, China had 35.4% of the total flops represented on the TOP500. At that point, the U.S. had 169 systems on the list, leading China by 9 ranked systems. Switzerland's Piz Daint sat in third place with 19.59 petaflops, while Japan's Gyoukou supercomputer took fourth place with 19.14 petaflops.

"So China has improved greatly in its HPC competitiveness and performance", he said.

The standing corresponds with China's growing reputation as the global leader in supercomputers, as the Asian power prepares to launch in June 2018 a prototype exascale computing machine - a "super supercomputer".

"We should be soberly aware that core technologies of the mainstream products on the HPC market, such as CPU and GPU, are now still being dominated and controlled by United States companies", Liu Jun, the general manager of China's Inspur, told Xinhua.

"China still lags far behind when compared with the USA and Europe and requires continuous efforts for further development", Liu said.

What's interesting, the report noted, is that these rankings weren't the case a mere six months ago. Summit is expected to run with a performance of 200 petaflops. Additionally, HPE represents almost a quarter of the systems on the TOP500 list, the report said.

The Top500 list is considered one of the most authoritative rankings of the world's supercomputers.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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