China Daily reports 1 PF Intel/AMD hybrid super (but it's not really)

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Late last week China Daily reported the launch of a new petaFLOPS super in China

The birth of the supercomputer, named “Tianhe”, which means “Milky Way”, makes China the second country, after the United States, to build a petaflop computer.

There is some confusion in the press about whether China is the second or third country to boast a PFLOPS. The China Top100 actually reveals that the machine is a peak PFLOPS machine, which makes it number 3, after Germany and JUGENE.  The actual LINPACK score is 563,100 GFLOPS, which would have made it number 4 on the June list.

The new machine was announced concurrently with the annual update of the China Top100 (Google Translation to English of the Top100 site here). The machine is located at the National University of Defense Technology and is built out of Intel Xeon E5540s and AMD Radeon graphics cards for a GPU assist; the interconnect is IB. Tianhe is 5-ish more times more powerful that the previous champ, the Dawn 5000A, which was built out of AMD Barcelonas.

Supported by the national high-tech research and development program, also known as the 863 program, development of Tianhe has involved more than 200 computer experts who spent about two years in designing and producing the petaflop supercomputer, said Zhang Yulin, president of the defense university.

…Tianhe, made up of 103 refrigerator-sized silver gray cabinets, occupies an area of nearly 1,000 sq m and weighs 155 tons, containing 6,144 Intel CPUs and 5,120 AMD GPUs, with a storage capacity of 1 PB.

You can also find coverage at China’s official state-run news agency. A few weeks ago I pointed to the Asia Top500 (which actually has only 45 entries), as a regional entry alongside the country-specific Russia Top50. Someone less jaded than me would argue that the rise of the baby TopX lists is a reflection of the increasing recognition around the world of the importance of advanced computational capability in maintaining scientific and technical capability.


  1. […] and I was fascinated to learn that China alone was 40% of Mellanox’s revenue last quarter (the recently announced Tianhe, for example, is Mellanox end-to-end according to Monson). Russia is also significant in terms of […]