The bi-annual Top 500 supercomputer list has reached its fiftieth edition, bringing with it two important milestones: China has more machines on the list than the US, and every computer now runs Linux.
Boasting 202 entries, China can now claim more supercomputers in the top 500 than ever before. At the same time, the US has its lowest number of places—144—since the list began 25 years ago. Back in June, China took 159 spots while the US led with 169.
Additionally, China has also surpassed the US when it comes to aggregate performance. The Asian nation holds 35.4 percent of the Top 500 flops, while the US is relegated to second place with 29.6 percent.
The world’s top ten supercomputers remain mostly unchanged. China keeps the number one and two spots with the 93.1 petaflop Sunway TaihuLight and the 33.86 petaflop Tianhe-2, respectively. The Switzerland-based Piz Daint (19.6 petaflops) is at number three, while the upgraded Gyoukou (19.1 petaflops) sees Japan take fourth place. The highest US entry, the 17.6 petaflop Titan, is at number five.
The US may be lagging behind China on the list, but American companies are responsible for most of the machines’ technologies. 94.2 percent of the 500 systems contain processors provided by Intel, and 86 of the supercomputers feature chips from Nvidia. HP Enterprise, meanwhile, is the top maker of machines on the list with 122 systems (24.4 percent).
The other significant change is that the final two supercomputers not running Linux—a pair of Chinese machines running AIX—have fallen off the list, meaning the operating system now appears on every Top 500 computer. Linux moved ahead of Unix as the supercomputer OS of choice in 2004, just six years after it first appeared on the list.