China's supercomputer Tianhe-2 is now world's fastest

By Kristen Butler,  |  June 17, 2013 at 4:24 PM
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Every six months Top500 releases a list of the world's fastest supercomputers, and the organization revealed Monday that the Chinese Tianhe-2 is now at the top of the list.

The list was announced June 17 during the opening session of the 2013 International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany.

Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, by the end of the year -- two years ahead of schedule.

Built by the National University of Defense Technology as the successor to the Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which topped the list in November of 2010, the Tianhe-2 took the top spot with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.

Tianhe-2 has 16,000 nodes, each with two Intel Xeon IvyBridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors for a combined total of 3,120,000 computing cores.

The new No. 1 system, Tianhe-2, and the No. 6 system, Stampede, are using Intel Xeon Phi processors to speed up their computational rate. The No. 2 system, Titan, and the No. 10 system, Tianhe-1A, are using NVIDIA GPUs to accelerate computation.

Intel continues to provide processors for the largest share of TOP500 systems at 80.4 percent. Eighty-eight percent of the systems use processors with six or more cores, and 67 percent with eight or more cores.

Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory and previously the No. 1 system, is now ranked No. 2. Titan achieved 17.59 petaflop/s using 261,632 of its NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores. Titan is one of the most energy efficient systems on the list, consuming a total of 8.21 MW and delivering 2,143 Mflops/W.

IBM’s BlueGene/Q is still the most popular system in the TOP10 with four entries, including No. 3, 5, 7, and 8.

There are 26 systems with performance greater than a petaflop/s, up from 23 six months ago. The entry level to get on the list jumped to 96.6 teraflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, compared to 76.5 Tflop/s six months ago.

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