June 21 — The release of the 47th TOP500 list of the world’s top supercomputers on June 20 at the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany showed a new No. 1 system – the Sunway TaihuLight machine in China that is nearly three times as fast and three times as efficient as system it displaces in the top spot.
The Sunway TaihuLight, at the National Supercomputer Center in Wuxi, has a theoretical peak performance of 125 petaflops and achieved a performance of 93 petaflops running the LINPACK benchmark. To get some perspective on the system and what it means for HPC, the SC Blog talked with Jack Dongarra, one of the four editors of the TOP500 list, a longtime member of the SC conference planning committee and one of the developers of LINPACK.
Dongarra, who is a professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a joint appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has a report on Sunway TaihuLight at http://bit.ly/sunway-2016.
SC16: So, what happened here?
China has built a very powerful machine that is 2.75 times as powerful as the former No. 1 system, Tianhe-2, which is also in China. The Sunway TaihuLight has 10.6 million cores and has a theoretical peak performance of 125 petaflops. Running LINPACK at 93 petaflops means it performed at 74 percent of the theoretical peak. Tianhe-2 achieves 62 percent of its theoretical peak with LINPPACK, while Titan at Oak Ridge National Lab achieves 65 percent.
It also has the best power efficiency, performing 6 gigaflops per watt, while the other top systems are around 2 gigaflops per watt. Tianhe-2 is at 1.9 and Titan at Oak Ridge National Lab is at 2.1. So, this new machine has three times the efficiency of the next two most powerful supercomputers on the list.
SC16: Was this system’s showing a surprise?
There was a rumor for the last year plus that China is building two systems on the order of 100 petaflops, this one and an upgrade of Tianhe-2 called Tianhe-2A, which isn’t ready yet. This system is bigger than expected with more performance. The fact that they got LINPACK to run on the system and achieved this efficiency is very impressive.
The full article can be found here.