US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

By Tiffany Trader

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) – commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 – kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and much of the surrounding area. That means there’s another Top500 list to dive into and discuss. If you follow the space closely there were no major surprises, yet a close inspection of the list yields interesting findings and a few firsts. The United States, despite continuing to lose ground in system share, had a particularly good showing, nabbing the top two spots and standing up the world’s first petaflops Arm-powered supercomputer.

Starting from the top, DOE CORAL siblings Summit and Sierra have both upped their Linpack scores and are enjoying their number one and two spots. Built by IBM, Nvidia and Mellanox, the supercomputers entered the list six months ago with Summit taking highest honors and Sierra in third. Big sister Summit, installed at Oak Ridge, got a performance upgrade as we’d previously reported it would, climbing from 122.3 to 143.4 petaflops. It follows that Sierra, installed at number three six months ago, would likely get one as well (and it did), stepping from 71.6 to 94.6 petaflops.

Nov 2018 Top 10 – Click to Expand (Source: Top500)

Summit has also had its power efficiency optimized for the latest Linpack lineup, bumping it from 13.89 gigaflops/watts to 14.67 gigaflops/watts. Sierra didn’t include power metrics when it debuted six months ago, but now Livermore is reporting an energy efficiency of 12.72 gigaflops/watts. (We’ll look at what that means for their Green500 rankings in a moment.)

Sierra’s flops fortification was sufficient to knock China’s Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer from second to third place. Installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, TaihuLight debuted at the top of the June 2016 listing. It is comprised almost entirely of Chinese-made indigenous computing technologies.

Following in fourth place is China’s other mega-system, the Tianhe-2A (Milky Way-2A), which achieved 61.4 petaflops thanks to an upgrade earlier this year that swapped out 2012-era Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors with proprietary Matrix-2000 accelerators. Before the U.S. debuted Summit and Sierra in June 2018, China had enjoyed a long-running lead atop the list, and claimed both the first and second spots for three list iterations (June 2016  through November 2017).

Piz Daint, a Cray XC50 system installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland, moves up one spot into fifth place thanks to an upgrade that increased its Linpack performance from 19.6 to 21.2 petaflops. The boost secures Piz Daint’s place as fastest European HPC system, although it would have maintained that status even without the additional cores (but just barely).

Moving up three spots into sixth position is Trinity, a Cray XC40 system operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. Trinity upped its performance from 14.1 to 20.2 petaflops. It is the only system in the top 10 to employ Intel Xeon Phi processors.

The AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI) deployed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan has moved down two spots into seventh position with a Linpack mark of 19.9 petaflops. Made by Fujitsu the system includes Xeon Gold processors and Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs.

SuperMUC-NG at LRZ

Welcomed into the top 10 pack as the lone new entrant is SuperMUC-NG, in sixth position with 19.5 petaflops, provided by more than 305,000 Intel Xeon 8174 cores. This is the new fastest system in Germany, built by Lenovo and installed at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (Leibniz-Rechenzentrum) in Garching, near Munich. It is the only system in the top 10 to use Intel’s Omni-Path interconnect.

Boasting 26.9 peak petaflops when it launched (compared to Piz Daint’s 25.3), SuperMUC-NG had a shot at overtaking Piz Daint for title of fastest supercomputer on the European block. However, even if Piz Daint hadn’t have added additional cores and flops, it still would have kept its lead (with 19.59 petaflops versus SuperMUC-NG’s 19.48 petaflops).

Titan, the Cray XK7 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, moves down three spots into ninth place. The long-running U.S. record-holder debuted on the list at number one six years ago. 18,688 AMD Opterons and 18,688 Nvidia K20X GPUs provide Titan with 17.5 petaflops of Linpack goodness.

In tenth place is Sequoia, delivering 17.2 petaflops. An IBM BlueGene/Q supercomputer, Sequoia has been a critical asset of DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory since 2011.

There are 153 new systems on the list. Lassen, in 11th place, is one of them. Lassen is an IBM Power9 System (S922LC), installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Powered by Nvidia V100s, and networked with dual-rail Mellanox EDR Infiniband, Lassen achieves 15.4 petaflops.

New additions SuperMUC-NG and Lassen mean that NERSC’s Cori supercomputer slips from tenth to twelve position. Cori is a Cray XC40, Intel Phi-based system; it is the primary HPC resource for DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Cori first entered the list at number five two years ago and has maintained its 14.01 Linpack petaflops.

Other notable new entrants are Taiwania 2, Electra and Eagle, ranked at 20 (9 petaflops), 33 (5.4 petaflops) and 35 (4.85 petaflops), respectively. Installed at the Taiwan National Center for High-performance Computing, Taiwania was manufactured by Quanta Computer in collaboration with Taiwan Fixed Network and ASUS Cloud, and consists of Xeon Gold 6154 processors and Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs. Electra and Eagle are both built by HPE using Xeon Gold processors; the former is located at NASA/Ames Research Center and the latter at National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Last but not least is notable first-timer Astra, the new Arm-based HPE-built supercomputer, deployed at Sandia National Laboratories. Astra gets the claim to fame of being the first Arm-powered supercomputer to make it onto the Top500. Seeing multiple nations betting on Arm for their exascale targets well before Arm had reached petascale has struck me as risky. As large production systems like Astra in the US, Islambad in the UK and a CEA-run system in France are stood up, Arm server chips will have their proving ground. Astra leveraged 125,328 Marvell Cavium ThunderX2 cores to deliver 1.5 High Peformance Linpack petaflops. It enters the list at number 203.

The entry point for the Top100 has reached 1.97 petaflops and there are now 427 systems with performance greater than a petaflops on the list (up from 272 six months ago).

China-U.S. Standing

China continues to lead in system share, while the U.S. maintains the aggregate performance edge it regained six months ago with the entry of its first two CORAL systems. China now claims 229 systems (45.8 percent of the total), while U.S. share fell has dropped to the lowest ever: 108 systems (21.6 percent). That wide delta in system count is offset by the U.S. having the top two systems and generally operating more powerful systems (and more real HPC systems, as opposed to Web/cloud systems), allowing the U.S. to enjoy a 38 percent performance share, compared to China’s 31 percent. Related to the rise in these non-HPC systems, Gigabit Ethernet ropes together 254 systems. 275 systems on the list are tagged as industry.

Aggregate List Performance, Green500 & HPCG

The 52nd Top500 list holds a combined performance (rMax) of 1.41 exaflops. That is an 18.3 percent increase from six months ago, when the total performance of all 500 systems first crossed the exaflops barrier, amassing 1.22 exaflops of total aggregate performance. The total theoretical peak carried by the newly published list is 2.21 exaflops, up from 1.92 exaflops six months ago.

The Green500 has been integrated into the Top500 reporting process and HPCG is also included in the list now. Summit and Sierra hold the top positions on the HPCG ranking ahead of Japan’s K computer at number three. Newcomer Astra also achieved a notable HPCG result, coming in 36th on that list.

On the Green500, Summit and Sierra achieved a position of three and seven, respectively [with 14.67 gigaflops/watt and 12.72 gigaflops/watt, as reported up above].

The top two Green500 systems are Shoubu system B and DGX Saturn, ranked 374 and 373 on the Top500. Shoubu system B, made by PEZY/Exascalar and located at RIKEN, achieves 17.6 gigaflops/watt; while DGX Saturn, made by Nvidia for Nvidia, delivers 15.1 gigaflops/watt.

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!

AWS Expands Worldwide Availability to AMD-based Instances

July 22, 2019

Setting aside potential setbacks caused by U.S. trade policies, the steady cadence of AMD’s revival in HPC and the datacenter continued last week with AWS expanding availability of its AMD Epyc-based instances. Recall Read more…

By Staff

Microsoft Investing $1B in OpenAI Artificial General Intelligence R&D

July 22, 2019

Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is AI’s moonshot, the next giant leap for the AI field. Microsoft regards it to be feasible enough to warrant a $1 billion investment in OpenAI, the not-for-profit research organi Read more…

By Doug Black

Researchers Use Supercomputing to Study Links Between Hurricanes and Climate Change

July 19, 2019

As climate change looms, researchers are scrambling to answer the question of how a warming planet will affect the frequency and severity of already-deadly hurricanes. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Il Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the Combined Power of HPC and AI to Your Business Transformation

A growing number of commercial businesses are implementing HPC solutions to derive actionable business insights, to run higher performance applications and to gain a competitive advantage. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

With HPC the Future is Looking Grid

Gone are the days when problems such as unraveling genetic sequences or searching for extra-terrestrial life were solved using only a single high-performance computing (HPC) resource located at one facility. Read more…

San Diego Supercomputer Center to Welcome ‘Expanse’ Supercomputer in 2020

July 18, 2019

With a $10 million dollar award from the National Science Foundation, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego is procuring a new supercomputer, called Expanse, to be deployed next Read more…

By Staff report

Microsoft Investing $1B in OpenAI Artificial General Intelligence R&D

July 22, 2019

Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is AI’s moonshot, the next giant leap for the AI field. Microsoft regards it to be feasible enough to warrant a $1 billi Read more…

By Doug Black

Informing Designs of Safer, More Efficient Aircraft with Exascale Computing

July 18, 2019

During the process of designing an aircraft, aeronautical engineers must perform predictive simulations to understand how airflow around the plane impacts fligh Read more…

By Rob Johnson

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo Read more…

By John Russell

Goonhilly Unveils New Immersion-Cooled Platform, Doubles Down on Sustainability Mission

July 16, 2019

Goonhilly Earth Station has opened its new datacenter – an enhancement to its existing tier 3 facility – in Cornwall, England, touting an ambitious commitme Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC19 Cluster Competition: Application Results, Finally!

July 15, 2019

Our exhaustive coverage of the ISC19 Student Cluster Competition continues as we discuss the application scores below. While the scores were typically high, som Read more…

By Dan Olds

Nvidia Expands DGX-Ready AI Program to 19 Countries

July 11, 2019

Nvidia’s DGX-Ready Data Center Program, announced in January and designed to provide colo and public cloud-like options to access the company’s GPU-powered Read more…

By Doug Black

Argonne Team Makes Record Globus File Transfer

July 10, 2019

A team of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory has broken a data transfer record by moving a staggering 2.9 petabytes of data for a research project.  The data – from three large cosmological simulations – was generated and stored on the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia, Google Tie in Second MLPerf Training ‘At-Scale’ Round

July 10, 2019

Results for the second round of the AI benchmarking suite known as MLPerf were published today with Google Cloud and Nvidia each picking up three wins in the at Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour


Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Announcing four new HPC capabilities in Google Cloud Platform

April 15, 2019

When you’re running compute-bound or memory-bound applications for high performance computing or large, data-dependent machine learning training workloads on Read more…

By Wyatt Gorman, HPC Specialist, Google Cloud; Brad Calder, VP of Engineering, Google Cloud; Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Claims 6000x Speed-Up for Stock Trading Backtest Benchmark

May 13, 2019

A stock trading backtesting algorithm used by hedge funds to simulate trading variants has received a massive, GPU-based performance boost, according to Nvidia, Read more…

By Doug Black

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