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November 15, 2010
MANNHEIM, Germany, BERKELEY, Calif., and KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 15 -- The 36th edition of the closely-watched TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers confirms the rumored takeover of the top spot by the Chinese Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, achieving a performance level of 2.57 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second).
News of the Chinese system's performance emerged in late October. As a result, the former number one system -- the Cray XT5 "Jaguar" system at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee -- is now ranked in second place. Jaguar achieved 1.75 petaflop/s running Linpack, the TOP500 benchmark application.
Third place is now held by a Chinese system called Nebulae, which was also knocked down one spot from the June 2010 TOP500 list with the appearance of Tianhe-1A. Located at the National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen, Nebulae performed at 1.27 petaflop/s.
Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology is number four; having achieved a performance of 1.19 petaflop/s. Tsubame is the only Japanese machine in the TOP10.
At number five is Hopper, a Cray XE6 system at DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center in California. Hopper just broke the petaflop/s barrier with 1.05 petaflop/s, making it the second most powerful system in the U.S. and only the third U.S. machine to achive petaflop/s performance.
Of the Top 10 systems, seven achieved performance at or above 1 petaflop/s. Five of the systems in the Top 10 are new to the list. Of the Top 10, five are in the United States and the others are in China, Japan, France, and Germany. The most powerful system in Europe is a Bull system at the French CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives or Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission), ranked at number six.
The full TOP500 list and accompanying analysis will be discussed at a special Nov. 17 session at the SC10 Conference on High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis being held Nov. 13-19 in New Orleans, La.
The two Chinese systems and Tsubame 2.0 are all using NVIDIA GPUs (graphics processing units) to accelerate computation. In all, 17 systems on the TOP500 use GPUs as accelerators, with 6 using the Cell processor, ten of them using NVIDIA chips and one using ATI Radeon chips.
China is also accelerating its move into high performance computing and now has 42 systems on the TOP500 list, moving past Japan, France, Germany and the UK to become the number two country behind the U.S.
Although the U.S. remains the leading consumer of HPC systems with 275 of the 500 systems, this number is down from 282 in June 2010. The European share -- 124 systems, down from 144 -- is still substantially larger than the Asian share (84 systems -- up from 57). Dominant countries in Asia are China with 42 systems (up from 24), Japan with 26 systems (up from 18), and India with four systems (down from five).
In Europe, Germany and France caught up with the UK, which dropped from the No. 1 European nation from 38 six months ago to 24 on the newest list. Germany and France passed the UK and now have 26 and 25 systems each, although France is down from 29 and Germany is up 24 systems compared to six months ago.
Other Highlights from the Latest List
In Just Six Months
Some Final Notes on Power Consumption
Just as the TOP500 List has emerged as a standardized indicator of performance and architecture trends since it was created 18 years ago, the list now tracks actual power consumption of supercomputers in a consistent fashion. Although power consumption is increasing, the computing efficiency of the systems is also improving. Here are some power consumption notes from the newest list.
About the TOP500 List
The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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