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May 29, 2013

Details Emerge About China’s 50+ Petaflop Chart-Topper

Nicole Hemsoth

*Note* We will be updating this piece throughout the day as more credible confirmation filters in. Send tips to editor@hpcwire.com

BREAKING–UPDATE -- Sunday, June 2 10:01 p.m. Eastern — We just obtained complete details, more here…

http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2013-06-02/full_details_uncovered_on_chinese_top_supercomputer.html?featured=top

from a draft document via Oak Ridge National Lab including full interconnect, processor, benchmark and more via Dr. Jack Dongarra.

Yesterday, we took the plunge and reported on the pervasive rumor that a MIC-based Chinese system had been validated by Top 500 brass in person—proving dramatic LINPACK performance against the Titan and the rest of the leaders of the supercomputing pack.

There is currently a team from the Top500 in China and they have reported that they’ve examined the system and that indeed, its performance parallels the early reports.

This morning we’ve been able to confirm a number of details about the system, which for the sake of brevity, we’ll present here in rather short form. Before doing so, thanks to all of you who scurried around to send us emails late last night with confirmation, further details, and insight about the new top super.

The reported performance (we have four highly credible sources confirming) is between 53-55 peak and between 27-29 LINPACK sustained performance. This is actually better than we were led to believe yesterday when it felt a little wrong to make the “50 petaflop” claim, despite our best sources telling us it was so.

The odd thing is that this is the famed Tianhe-2 system—yes, the one that wasn’t even supposed to be completed until 2015. Further, the system’s grand unveiling was going to unleash 100 petaflops onto the world. While we’re still working on understanding the odd timing on this, the fact remains that there’s nothing on the horizon that is going to be able to touch it unless there are some major surprises, which sources emphatically say there will not be.

Inspur, whose pride and joy petaflopper sits eagerly at the Guangzhou Supercomputer Centre, noted today (no edits, which will become painfully obvious):

“This will be the second time that China win the first chair of of Top500 after 3 years of Tianhe-1A. This based the continuous improvement of Chinese HPC industry, that Chinese ‘hard power’ is one of the largest in the world like HPC R&D and construction, etc. Meanwhile, the Chinese ‘soft power’ include HPC application and talents catches up on the advanced level in the world.”

They conclude their hard/soft power statement with the claim that, “The worldwide HPC distribution maybe is changing.”

And for those who are saying this is a “stunt system” we should note that we’re trying to drill down on just what applications this big maw will be crunching. We are also trying to get a handle on how many MICs they’re wrangling—the reports (too early for now) are simply staggering—this will make one hell of a programming article when we’re on hand at ISC.

This is a MIC-only system from what we understand—no GPU acceleration thrown in for added fire, which was what gave the Tianhe-1A its chart-topping power.

What a stellar year for Intel…we’re also lining up some commentary from their end, although there’s little chance they’ll speak on record about the specs until the list is formally announced.

Stay tuned and thanks again for all the info.

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