China still has the two fastest supercomputers in the world, but the US is catching up

By midian182 ยท 15 replies
Nov 15, 2016
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  1. It’s that time of year again when the bi-annual TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world is released. The 48th edition shows that while Chinese machines are hanging on to the number one and two positions, the US now has the same number of computers in the top 500 as its Asian rival.

    Back in June, Sunway TaihuLight’s Linpack benchmark of 93 petaflops knocked Tianhe-2 – clocked at 34 petaflops - off the number one spot. The highest US supercomputer on the list, the 17.59 petaflop Titan, was in third place. Six months later, the top three entries remain the same.

    June’s list also marked the first time that China had more supercomputers in the top 500 than the US – 167 compared to America’s 165. But the two countries are now back on equal terms, boasting 171 entries each.

    In terms of aggregate Linpack performance, the US holds 33.9 percent of the total, slightly ahead of China’s 33.3 percent. Adding together the performance of all the supercomputers on the list equals 672 petaflops, an increase of 60 percent compared to the same period last year.

    Germany sits behind China and the US with the third largest number of supercomputers in the top 500. It’s followed by Japan, France, and the UK.

    Two new computers make it into November’s top ten: the 14 petaflop Cori arrives at number five, which is a Cray XC40 system from Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC); while Japan’s Oakforest-PACS – rated at 13.6 petaflops – comes in at number six. Both machines run Intel Knights Landing Xeon Phi 7250 68-core processors.

    One interesting statistic from the list is that 498 of the 500 computers are now running Linux. Only two Chinese machines – at 386 and 387 – run IBM AIX, a variant of Unix. Linux completely overtook Unix as the supercomputer OS of choice in 2004, just six years after it first appeared on the list, and has been ahead ever since.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,337   +843

    Looks like China's computer uses AMD CPU.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    What's the use of having these stupidly priced things, it's not as if any of them can play Crysis anyway. ;)
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +2,002

    Funny, I was going to say the same thing about playing DOOM .....
  5. Radical

    Radical TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +34

    What? Sunway TaihuLight uses a Chinese made, custom cpu. Tainhe2 uses Intel Phi coprocessors.
    wastedkill likes this.
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Actually, knowing computer engineers, I would be more surprised if at least a few of these machines haven't had Doom run on them at one point or another (obviously when the boss wasn't looking)
  7. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    Can it run CRYSIS?

    Or perhaps the question should be: how many consecutive instances of Crysis can it run?
  8. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    How quickly can it mine Bitcoins?
  9. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    Someday all that power of the most powerful supercomputer will be in your pocket as an iPhone.
  10. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    But wouldn't these things still need a powerful GPU to render 3D graphics?

    I think supercomputers are only good for calculations - not rendering.

    Hook it to a Titan X 12GB and run a game in maximum possible settings.
  11. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    It's also Doom, and bored computer engineers. Hell, I know one that keeps it on the following ("just in case"):
    • USB
    • DVD/CD
    • Zip
    • Magnetic Tape
    • 3.5", 5.25", and 8" floppy
    The only reason he probably doesn't have it on punch cards or punch tape is because it would just take up too much space in his house.
  12. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +903

    It's pretty nice the Oak Ridge one how with a 1/6 of the cores it can do 1/2 the load of the 2nd fastest Chinese one. Looks like one of the most efficient in numbers.
  13. RzmmDX

    RzmmDX TS Guru Posts: 313   +67

    Well... at least we have people working on quantum computers.
  14. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +2,002

    That's a good point, but there are a few super computers (depending on how you define that) such as the CRAY that has extremely good graphic's capabilities. The CIA and the Pentagon have rooms full of them used for many different real time capabilities that are graphically oriented. Although I doubt they have had the opportunity to run DOOM, at least not the game by that name ....... LOL
  15. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 646   +89

    I'm just surprised they went for Opterons in the Cray Supercomputer. I know Opterons have their strengths (Price for one) but who knows. I'm sure they weighed the pros and cons beforehand. Still, it makes you wonder how much more powerful it could be with Intel Chips.
  16. PinothyJ

    PinothyJ TS Guru Posts: 460   +22

    It isn't a competition :/

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