Tianhe-2 notches up 30.65 petaflops during benchmark test
China scaled the supercomputing summit in late 2010, when a 2.507-petaflop machine named Tianhe-1A (or Milkyway-1) was ranked as the fastest supercomputer by TOP500, which publishes a list of the fastest 500 supercomputers twice a year. Its stay there, though, was brief, lasting all of six months. But if you think it was just a flash in the pan, the Chinese National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), the organization which developed the Tianhe-1A, is building the Tianhe-2 in order to prove you wrong.
The supercomputing crown now belongs to China and the country's Tianhe-1A machine, which was able to crank out 2.507 petaflops with more than a little help from Nvidia and Intel, according to a Nvidia press release.
The Tianhe-1A supercomputer houses 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 graphics chips and 14,336 Intel Xeon processors. It consumes 4.04 megawatts, and according to Nvidia, it's three times more power efficient than a CPU-only supercomputer. It would take more than 50,000 CPUs and twice as much floor space to achieve the same level of performance if using CPUs alone, the GPU maker claims.
"The performance and efficiency of Tianhe-1A was simply not possible without GPUs," said Guangming Liu, chief of National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin. "The scientific research that is now possible with a system of this scale is almost without limits; we could not be more pleased with the results."
Nvidia says the Tianhe-1A system will be operated as an open access system for large scale scientific computations.