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Chinese Supercomputer Maintains No. 1 Spot on Top 500 List

20 November 2013

A supercomputer in China dubbed Tianhe-2 continued to top the list of the world's most powerful systems, delivering 33.86 petaflops per second (Pflop/s) on the Linpack benchmark, nearly twice as fast as the second-leading computer, according to the latest ranking of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, released this week the Supercomputing Conference in Denver.

Developed by China's National University of Defense Technology, the Tianhe-2 is based on Intel's Ivy Bridge and Xeon Phi components. With 32,000 Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon sockets and 48,000 Xeon Phi boards, Tianhe-2 has 16,000 nodes, each of which features two Ivy Bridge sockets and three Xeon Phi boards, delivering a theoretical peak performance of 54.9 Pflop/s, according to a June report by Jack Dongarra from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and one of the founders of the TOP500 list.

Tianhe-2 is based on several technologies developed in China, including its operating system, Kylin Linux, a custom interconnect network known as TH-Express-2, the Galaxy FT-1500 16-core processor, and the OpenMC programming mode, according to Dongarra's report. Also known as the MilkyWay-2, Tianhe-2 offers 3.12 million computing cores and peak power consumption of 17.8 MW.

Although Tianhe-2 achieves a high power efficiency rating, the Cray-built Titan, the second-leading system on the list, is one of the most energy efficient, consuming a total of 8.21 MW and delivering 2.143 gigaflops per watt (Gflops/W). Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at ORNL, achieved 17.59 Pflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.

Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, remained in the third spot on the list, delivering 17.17 Pflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.

The new entry in the top 10 is at No. 6—Piz Daint, a Cray XC30 system installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre in Lugano, Switzerland, and now the most powerful system in Europe. Piz Daint achieved 6.27 Pflop/s on the Linpack benchmark. Piz Daint is also the most energy efficient system in the top 10, consuming a total of 2.33 MW and delivering 2.7 Gflops/W.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The complete updated list can be viewed on the TOP500 website.

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