USA Has a Shrinking Share of the TOP500

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Top500The latest TOP500 list was published today in conjunction with SC15 in Austin. As the official ranking of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, the TOP500 reflects the current state of the HPC industry.

For the sixth 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 46th edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Overall, change at the top of the list is again minor, with only two new systems in the Top 10 — the Trinity supercomputer built by Cray and jointly deployed by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, and the Hazel-Hen system built by Cray and installed at the HLRS in Germany.

In the bigger picture, China nearly tripled the number of systems on the latest list, while the number of systems in the United States has fallen to the lowest point since the TOP500 list was created in 1993. China is also carving out a bigger share as a manufacturer of high performance computers with multiple Chinese manufacturers becoming more active in this field.

top500Tianhe-2, which means Milky Way-2, led the list with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second or Pflop/s) on the Linpack benchmark. Keeping its hold on the No. 2 spot is  Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at DOE’s 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.

The only new entries in the Top 10 supercomputers on the latest list are Trinity at No. 6 and Hazel-Hen at No. 8. Trinity is a Cray XC system  which has 301,056 cores and achieved 8.1 Pflops/s. Trinity is managed and operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories under the Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) partnership. Hazel-Hen is also a Cray XC system installed in Germany at the HLRS — and features 185,088 cores and achieved 5.6 Pflop/s.

Six of the Top 10 systems were installed in 2011 or 2012, Tianhe-2 in 2013 and only Trinity, Hazel-Hen, and Shaheen II in Saudi Arabia were installed in 2015. This low level of turnover among the top supercomputers reflects a slowing trend that began in 2008.

For more information about the sites and systems in the list, view the complete list.

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