Top500 Results: Latest List Trends and What’s in Store

By Tiffany Trader

June 19, 2017

Greetings from Frankfurt and the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference where the latest Top500 list has just been revealed. Although there were no major shakeups — China still has the top two spots locked with the the 93-petaflops TaihuLight and the 33.8 petaflops Tianhe-2 — there are some interesting historical and global trends to share, as well as notable Green500 results with Japan capturing the top four spots.

In the top ten strata of the 49th Top500 list, the names are the same but Piz Daint, the Cray XC50 system installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), has moved up five positions from number eight to number three. The punched-up processing was provided thanks by replacing older Tesla gear with Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs (see coverage here for more details), doubling the previous 9.8 Linpack petaflops score to 19.6 petaflops. The Intel processors were also upgraded: from Sandy Bridge to Haswell architecture.

Piz Daint’s rise has pushed the 17.6-petaflops U.S. Titan supercomputer down to fourth position, leaving the United States without a claim to any of the top three rankings. As the Top500 authors observe in today’s announcement, the only other time this has happened was in November 1996, when Japan dominated all three top spots.

For reference, the new top 10 rankings are reproduced below:

Source: Top500

This minimal list reshuffling led Top500 watcher and market analyst Addison Snell to comment, “With no changes in the Top 10 systems other than the Piz Daint upgrade, it may look like things aren’t moving forward, but this is the lull before a spate of new supercomputers that could hit the next list, particularly the two CORAL pre-exascale systems at U.S. national labs and the possibility of the Chinese Tienhe-2A upgrade.

“Some of the more interesting trends occur over the rest of the list population,” the CEO of Intersect360 Research continued. “For example, the number of manycore systems continues to rise, whether as accelerators or co-processors, which are mostly Nvidia GPUs, or with the Intel Xeon Phi as a standalone processor. This is driving related improvements in power efficiency, which is necessary in the run-up to exascale. It’s also notable to see Intel Omni-Path adoption continuing on the list. We are monitoring this in our end-user surveys to see how much penetration Omni-Path might have versus Ethernet and InfiniBand.”

When asked if he thought the CORAL systems, Summit and Sierra, would be ready next time this year, Snell said he wouldn’t be surprised if they come sooner than that. So SC17? We caught Snell in between flights but we’ll be asking him more about his thinking here during ISC. The U.S. has announced an exascale accelerated timeline (see our latest U.S. exascale coverage here) and promised additional monies to fund it, so a quickening for “pre-exascale” here makes sense if partners IBM, Nvidia and Mellanox can accommodate.

Then, as Snell also noted, there is still the matter of the Tianhe-2A system. The Tianhe-2 upgrade, which was to go forward with Feiteng processors after a U.S. embargo derailed the Knights Landing refresh, has not yet materialized. Signs now point to Tianhe-2A being NUDT’s exascale prototype, one of three exascale contenders in China (along with the Sugon and Wuxi Supercomputing Center efforts). It is speculated that the next Tianhe will employ the Feiteng FT-2000/64 that Phytium Technologies introduced at the 2016 Hotchips conference. The FT-2000/64 is a 64-core ARM processor with a stated 512 gigaflops peak performance at a frequency of 2.0 GHz in a 100 watt power envelope (max).

Splitting the Top500 Pie

While the U.S. has lost supremacy at the peak, it counts five systems within the top ten, still more than any other country. The U.S. leads total system share as well with 169 machines. China is a close second with 160. Recall the U.S. and China were tied with 171 systems each six months ago, but other countries have assumed some of that share, notably Japan and the UK. Japan is now third with 33 supercomputers up from 27 in November. Germany ranks fourth with 28, down from 31. France and the UK are tied for fifth with 17 systems each, with France dropping three systems and the UK adding four.

Shifting the perspective to aggregate performance share, maintains the ordering: U.S. (33.8 percent), China (32 percent), Japan (6.6 percent), Germany (5.6 percent), France (3.4 percent), United Kingdom (3.4).

Looking at the vendor landscape, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) asserts itself as the number one vendor by system volume with 143, picking up 25 systems in the SGI acquisition, finalized last November. Lenovo is second with 88 systems, followed by Cray (57 systems), Sugon (46) and IBM (27). On the previous list iteration, it was HPE (112 systems), Lenovo (92 systems), Cray (56 systems), Sugon (47) and IBM (with 33). There was only one new IBM system on today’s listing.

June 2017 Top500 vendor tree map (percent of total list performance)

When it comes to total list performance share, Cray maintains its lead at 21.4 percent, a skosh up from 21.3 percent six months back. Bolstered by its SGI acquisition, HPE comes back to a solid second place with 16.6 percent up 9.8 percent. With the strong showing of the combined HPE+SGI installs, Sunway TaihuLight developer NRCPC drops to third with 12.5 percent of the total installed performance (down from 13.8). Lenovo is next (9.3 percent, up from 8.8 percent), then IBM (7.5 percent, down from 8.8 percent).

The aggregate performance of all 500 computers on the 49th list stands at 749 petaflops, compared to 672 petaflops six months ago and 567 petaflops one year ago. This 32 percent annual growth rate is far below historical trends, which prior to 2008 averaged about 90 percent per year and more recently averaged around 55 percent per year. It’s a trend that shows no signs of reversal, according to the Top500 authors.

Source: Top500

The aggregate performance of the top ten machines is 235.9 petaflops up from 226 petaflops owed solely to the Piz Daint upgrade. 21 systems have joined the petaflops club, bringing total membership to 138 from 117 six months ago. The admission point for the TOP100 is currently 1.21 petaflops up from 1.07 petaflops. The bar for entry onto the list has been raised to 432.2 Linpack teraflops compared to 349.3 teraflops on the last list.

Other notable trends observed by Top500 authors:

  • Accelerator/Co-processor trends through June 2017 (Source: Top500)

    A total of 91 systems on the list are using accelerator/co-processor technology, up from 86 on November 2016.  71 of these use NVIDIA chips, 14 systems with Intel Xeon Phi technology (as Co-Processors), one uses ATI Radeon, and two are using PEZY technology. Three systems use a combination of Nvidia and Intel Xeon Phi accelerators/co-processors. An additional 13 Systems now use Xeon Phi as the main processing unit.

  • The average number of accelerator cores for these 91 systems is 115,000 cores/system.
  • Intel continues to provide the processors for the largest share (92.8 percent) of TOP500 systems.
  • Ninety-three (93.0) percent of the systems use processors with eight or more cores, sixty-eight (68.6) percent use twelve or more cores, and twenty-seven (27.2) percent twelve or more cores.
  • Gigabit Ethernet is now at 207 systems (unchanged), in large part thanks to 194 systems now using 10G interfaces. InfiniBand technology is now found on 178 systems, down from 187 systems, and is the second most-used internal system interconnect technology.
  • Intel Omni-Path technology which made its first appearance one year ago with 8 systems is now at 38 systems up from 28 system six month ago.

Also noteworthy, the Top500 list now incorporates the HPCG benchmark results “to provide a more balanced look at performance,” according to the list editors. They further report that “the fastest system on the HPCG benchmark is Fujitsu’s K computer which is ranked #8 in the overall Top500. It is followed closely by Tianhe-2 which is also No. 2 on the Top500.” This lineup is unchanged since the November HPCG ranking results.

Highlights from the Green500

The new list has an interesting tale to tell when it comes to energy efficiency metrics. Japan captured the top four spots of the Green500 with four new systems and the upgraded Swiss Piz Daint has the fifth spot. The fact that all five of these systems employ Tesla P100 GPUs speaks well for Nvidia, which also claims the seventh through fourteenth Green500 spots.

At the top of the green ranking, touting 14.110 gigaflops/watt, is the new TSUBAME 3.0, a modified HPC ICE XA machine, designed by Tokyo Tech and HPE. The system earned a 61st place spot on the TOP500 with a 1.998-petaflop Linpack run. The new Green500 record holder bests the previous record set by Nvidia’s internal Saturn V supercomputer six months ago (8.17 gigaflops/watt) by 72.7 percent.

The second-place Green500 system is “kukai,” built by Exascaler and installed at the Yahoo Japan Corporation. It achieves 14.045 gigaflops/watt, a mere 0.3 percent behind TSUBAME 3.0. It’s Top500 ranking is 466. Coming in at number three is the AIST AI Cloud system at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan. The NEC machine achieves 12.681 gigaflops/watt and is ranked number 148 on the Top500. The fourth place Green500 system is the Fujitsu-made RAIDEN GPU system, installed at RIKEN’s Center for Advanced Intelligence Project. It accomplished 10.603 gigaflops/watt and sits at number 306 on the Top500 line-up. The Dell Wilkes-2 machine installed at the University of Cambridge is in fifth place with 10.428 gigaflops/watt. Its Top500 ranking is 100.

Piz Daint, the sixth-ranked supercomputer on the Green500, achieved 10.398 gigaflops/watt. As a number three system, this is quite the accomplishment, as the latest energy-efficiency technologies don’t always scale well or make it to the top of the list due to long development cycles. The fact that Piz Daint is the most energy-efficient supercomputer within the top 50 fastest supercomputers speaks to that point.

In seventh position is “Gyoukou,” the Exascalar ZettaScaler-1.6 system at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology with 10.226 gigaflops/watt. Relying on PEZY-SC2 accelerators, Gyoukou is the highest ranking non-GPU system on the Green500 list.

The TOP500 and Green500 awards will be presented by Top500 co-author Horst D. Simon, deputy director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at 10:30 am today in Frankfurt. We expect lots more analysis to come out of the Top500 and Green500 program tracks. We will report back on these and other benchmarking results presented at ISC 2017. If you have any insights or comments to share, please catch me by email or in-person at the show.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Q&A with Altair CEO James Scapa, an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2021

May 14, 2021

Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Altair James R. Scapa closed several acquisitions for the company in 2020, including the purchase and integration of Univa and Ellexus. Scapa founded Altair more than 35 years ago with two Read more…

HLRS HPC Helps to Model Muscle Movements

May 13, 2021

The growing scale of HPC is allowing simulation of more and more complex systems at greater detail than ever before, particularly in the biological research spheres. Now, researchers at the University of Stuttgart are le Read more…

Behind the Met Office’s Procurement of a Billion-Dollar Microsoft System

May 13, 2021

The UK’s national weather service, the Met Office, caused shockwaves of curiosity a few weeks ago when it formally announced that its forthcoming billion-dollar supercomputer – expected to be the most powerful weather and climate-focused supercomputer in the world when it launches in 2022... Read more…

AMD, GlobalFoundries Commit to $1.6 Billion Wafer Supply Deal

May 13, 2021

AMD plans to purchase $1.6 billion worth of wafers from GlobalFoundries in the 2022 to 2024 timeframe, the chipmaker revealed today (May 13) in an SEC filing. In the face of global semiconductor shortages and record-high demand, AMD is renegotiating its Wafer Supply Agreement and bumping up capacity. Read more…

Hyperion Offers Snapshot of Quantum Computing Market

May 13, 2021

The nascent quantum computer (QC) market will grow 27 percent annually (CAGR) reaching $830 million in 2024 according to an update provided today by analyst firm Hyperion Research at the HPC User Forum being held this we Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Numerical weather prediction on AWS Graviton2

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is a numerical weather prediction (NWP) system designed to serve both atmospheric research and operational forecasting needs. Read more…

Hyperion: HPC Server Market Ekes 1 Percent Gain in 2020, Storage Poised for ‘Tipping Point’

May 12, 2021

The HPC User Forum meeting taking place virtually this week (May 11-13) kicked off with Hyperion Research’s market update, covering the 2020 period. Although the HPC server market had been facing a 6.7 percent COVID-re Read more…

Behind the Met Office’s Procurement of a Billion-Dollar Microsoft System

May 13, 2021

The UK’s national weather service, the Met Office, caused shockwaves of curiosity a few weeks ago when it formally announced that its forthcoming billion-dollar supercomputer – expected to be the most powerful weather and climate-focused supercomputer in the world when it launches in 2022... Read more…

AMD, GlobalFoundries Commit to $1.6 Billion Wafer Supply Deal

May 13, 2021

AMD plans to purchase $1.6 billion worth of wafers from GlobalFoundries in the 2022 to 2024 timeframe, the chipmaker revealed today (May 13) in an SEC filing. In the face of global semiconductor shortages and record-high demand, AMD is renegotiating its Wafer Supply Agreement and bumping up capacity. Read more…

Hyperion Offers Snapshot of Quantum Computing Market

May 13, 2021

The nascent quantum computer (QC) market will grow 27 percent annually (CAGR) reaching $830 million in 2024 according to an update provided today by analyst fir Read more…

Hyperion: HPC Server Market Ekes 1 Percent Gain in 2020, Storage Poised for ‘Tipping Point’

May 12, 2021

The HPC User Forum meeting taking place virtually this week (May 11-13) kicked off with Hyperion Research’s market update, covering the 2020 period. Although Read more…

IBM Debuts Qiskit Runtime for Quantum Computing; Reports Dramatic Speed-up

May 11, 2021

In conjunction with its virtual Think event, IBM today introduced an enhanced Qiskit Runtime Software for quantum computing, which it says demonstrated 120x spe Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Fast Pass Through (Some of) the Quantum Landscape with ORNL’s Raphael Pooser

May 7, 2021

In a rather remarkable way, and despite the frequent hype, the behind-the-scenes work of developing quantum computing has dramatically accelerated in the past f Read more…

IBM Research Debuts 2nm Test Chip with 50 Billion Transistors

May 6, 2021

IBM Research today announced the successful prototyping of the world's first 2 nanometer chip, fabricated with silicon nanosheet technology on a standard 300mm Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

Microsoft to Provide World’s Most Powerful Weather & Climate Supercomputer for UK’s Met Office

April 22, 2021

More than 14 months ago, the UK government announced plans to invest £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion) into weather and climate supercomputing, including procuremen Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire