10 Fastest Machines Look Familiar on New TOP500 List

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Top500LogoThe latest TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers was released this morning at the ISC 2015 conference in Frankfurt, Germany. And while there was little change in the upper ranks of the list, the TOP500 continues to offer insight into the latest HPC trends.

For the fifth consecutive time, Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, has retained its position as the world’s No. 1 system, according to the 45th edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Tianhe-2, which means Milky Way-2, led the list with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark.


At No. 2 was Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Titan, the top system in the United States and one of the most energy-efficient systems on the list, achieved 17.59 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.

David Keyes from KAUST accepts award for fastest system in the Middle East. The Shaheen II system landed at #7 on the TOP500.

David Keyes from KAUST accepts award for fastest system in the Middle East. The Shaheen II system landed at #7 on the TOP500.

The only new entry in the Top 10 supercomputers on the latest list is at No. 7—Shaheen II is a Cray XC40 system installed at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Shaheen II achieved 5.536 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, making it the highest-ranked Middle East system in the 22-year history of the list and the first to crack the Top 10.

The other nine systems in the top 10 were all installed in 2011 or 2012, and this low level of turnover among the top supercomputers reflects a slowing trend that began in 2008.

A detailed analysis of the latest TOP500 list will be presented Monday, July 13, at the 2015 International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. At that time, the full list will also be published at TOP500.org.

Although the United States remains the top country in terms of overall systems with 231 (the same as the last list in November 2014), this number is down from 233 in June 2014 and down from 265 on the November 2013 list. The U.S. is nearing its historical low number on the list.

Other highlights from the 45th list

  • Total combined performance of all 500 systems has grown to 361 Pflop/s, compared to 309 Pflop/s last November and 274 Pflop/s one year ago. This increase in installed performance also exhibits a noticeable slowdown in growth compared to the previous long-term trend.
  • There are 67 systems with performance greater than 1 petaflop/s on the list, up from 50 last November.
  • The No. 1 system, Tianhe-2, and the No. 7 system, Stampede, use Intel Xeon Phi processors to speed up their computational rate. The No. 2 system, Titan, and the No. 6 system, Piz Daint, use NVIDIA GPUs to accelerate computation.
  • A total of 88 systems on the list are using accelerator/co-processor technology, up from 75 in November 2014. Forty-nine of these use NVIDIA chips, four use ATI Radeon, and there are now 29 systems with Intel MIC technology (Xeon Phi). Intel continues to provide the processors for the largest share (86.2 percent) of TOP500 systems.
  • Ninety-seven percent of the systems use processors with six or more cores and 87.8 percent use eight or more cores.
  • HP has the lead in the total number of systems with 177 (35.4 percent) compared to IBM with 108 systems (21.6 percent). Last November, HP had 179 systems and IBM had 153 systems. In the system category, Cray remains third with 71 systems (14.2 percent).

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