It's Official: China Owns the Supercomputing Crown

Paul Lilly

We saw this coming.

Earlier this month we said that China was poised to sit atop the supercomputing summit with its Tianhe-2 , a system built by the Chinese National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). Armed with over 3 million physical processing cores and 1 petabyte of memory, there was no way this thing wouldn't shoot right to the top, and so it did, taking pole position on the TOP500 chart.

Tianhe-2 became the world's fastest supercomputer with a performance metric of 33.86 petaflop per second on the Linkpack benchmark, according to the 41st edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. What's more, Tianhe-2's ascent to the top came far earlier than expected.

"The surprise appearance of Tianhe-2, two years ahead of the expected deployment, marks China’s first return to the No. 1 position since November 2010, when Tianhe-1A was the top system," TOP500 said . "Tianhe-2 has 16,000 nodes, each with two Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors for a combined total of 3,120,000 computing cores."

It's an incredible machine equipped with 32,000 Xeon processors and 48,000 Xeon Phi accelerator processors. The machine also has 12.4 petabytes of storage and consumes 17.8MW of power. It's cooled by a closed air cooling system.

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