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!

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has been unveiled in upstate New York that will be used by IBM Read more…

By Doug Black

At SC19: Developing a Digital Twin

December 11, 2019

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. In such a world, there will also be a digita Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

Supercomputers Help Predict Carbon Dioxide Levels

December 10, 2019

The Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems – its lands, forests, jungles and so on – are crucial “sinks” for atmospheric carbon, holding nearly 30 percent of our annual CO2 emissions as they breathe in the carbon-rich Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Finally! SC19 Competitors Live and in Color!

December 10, 2019

You know the saying “better late than never”? That’s how my cluster competition coverage is faring this year. With SC19 coming late in November, quickly followed by my annual trip to South Africa to cover their clu Read more…

By Dan Olds

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum processor chips. The new controller is a mixed-signal SoC named Ho Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

GPU Scheduling and Resource Accounting: The Key to an Efficient AI Data Center

[Connect with LSF users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community!]

GPUs are the new CPUs

GPUs have become a staple technology in modern HPC and AI data centers. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Natural Gas, Precision Agriculture, Neural Networks and More

December 6, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum proces Read more…

By John Russell

On the Spack Track @SC19

December 5, 2019

At the annual supercomputing conference, SC19 in Denver, Colorado, there were Spack events each day of the conference. As a reflection of its grassroots heritage, nine sessions were planned by more than a dozen thought leaders from seven organizations, including three U.S. national Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and Sylabs... Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced com Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Debuts 7nm 2nd-Gen Graviton Arm Processor

December 3, 2019

The “x86 Big Bang,” in which market dominance of the venerable Intel CPU has exploded into fragments of processor options suited to varying workloads, has n Read more…

By Doug Black

Ride on the Wild Side – Squyres SC19 Mars Rovers Keynote

December 2, 2019

Reminding us of the deep and enabling connection between HPC and modern science is an important part of the SC Conference mission. And yes, HPC is a science its Read more…

By John Russell

NSCI Update – Adapting to a Changing Landscape

December 2, 2019

It was November of 2017 when we last visited the topic of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). As you will recall, the NSCI was started with an Executive Order (E.O. No. 13702), that was issued by President Obama in July of 2015 and was followed by a Strategic Plan that was released in July of 2016. The question for November of 2017... Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Tsinghua University Racks Up Its Ninth Student Cluster Championship Win at SC19

November 27, 2019

Tsinghua University has done it again. At SC19 last week, the eight-time gold medal-winner team took home the top prize in the 2019 Student Cluster Competition Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
CEJN
CJEN
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This