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Monday, June 20, 2016, 15:38

Tianhe-2 loses crown to new supercomputer

By Xinhua

WASHINGTON - Performing 93 quadrillion calculations per second, a new Chinese supercomputer called Sunway TaihuLight on Monday dethroned China's Tianhe-2 from the top in a list of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world.

"China maintained its No. 1 ranking on the 47th edition of the TOP 500 list of the world's top supercomputers," reads a statement from the semiannual list compiled by US and European experts, "but with a new system built entirely using processors designed and made in China."

Sunway TaihuLight, with 10,649,600 computing cores comprising 40,960 nodes, is twice as fast and three times as efficient as Tianhe-2, which has a performance of 33.86 quadrillion calculations per second, or petaflop/s.

Tianhe-2 loses crown to new supercomputer
The Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China's National University of Defense Technology, is named the world's top supercomputer for the fourth straight time by the TOP500. (Photo / Xinhua)

The new system was developed by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi of Jiangsu, an eastern coastal province of China.

Previously, Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer, has claimed the No. 1 spot in the past six TOP 500 lists.

The latest list also marked the first time since the inception of the TOP 500 list in 1993 that the United States is not home to the largest number of supercomputer systems.

"With a surge in industrial and research installations registered over the last few years, China leads with 167 systems and the US is second with 165," the statement reads.

China also leads the performance category, thanks to the No. 1 and No. 2 systems, it said.

"It's a trend with China," Jack Dongarra, professor of the University of Tennessee and editor of the list, told Xinhua in an email. "They had zero systems in 2001 and today they surpass the United States. No other nation has seen such rapid growth."

Dongarra said supercomputers are more important than ever as they provide capability benefiting a broad range of industries, including energy, pharmaceutics, aircraft, automobile and entertainment.

"More powerful computing capability will allow these diverse industries to more quickly engineer superior new products that could improve a nation's competitiveness," he said.

In the latest list, Titan, a system installed at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is now the No 3 system. It can achieve 17.59 petaflop/s.

Other systems rounding out the Top 10 are US Sequoia, Japan's Fujitsu's K, US Mira and Trinity, Switzerland's Piz Daint, Germany's Hazel Hen, as well as Shaheen II of Saudi Arabia.

The latest announcement also included the Green 500 list, which showed that the most energy-efficient supercomputer is Shoubu, a system installed at the Advanced Center for Computing and Communication at RIKEN in Japan.

The TOP 500 list is considered one of the most authoritative rankings of the world's supercomputers. It is compiled on the basis of the machines' performance on the Linpack benchmark by experts from the United States and Germany.

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