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     Dr.(Phys.)Dipl.-Ing.Ralf-Udo Hartmann

The World fastest Supercomputer


For the fourth consecutive time, Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, has retained its position as the world’s No. 1 system with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark, according to the 44th edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

In fact, there was little change among the ranking of the world’s top 10 supercomputers in the latest edition of the closely watched list. The only new entry was at number 10—a 3.57 petaflop/s Cray CS-Storm system installed at an undisclosed U.S. government site.

A detailed analysis of the latest TOP500 list will be presented Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the SC14 conference in New Orleans. At that time, the full list will also be published at

Although the United States remains the top country in terms of overall systems with 231, this number is down from 233 in June 2014 and down from 265 on the November 2013 list. The U.S. is nearing its historical low number on the list.

The number of European systems rose to 130, up from 116 last June, while the number of systems across Asia dropped from 132 to 120. The number of Chinese systems on the list also dropped, now at 61, compared to 76 in June 2014. Over the same period, Japan increased its number of systems from 30 to 32.

SAN FRANCISCO Juni 2011 — In the rankings of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, a Japanese machine has earned the top spot with a performance that essentially laps the competition.

Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg News

Parts for a "K”  supercomputer are assembled at the  Fujitsu plant in Hokuto City,  Japan.

The computer, known as "K Computer,” is three times faster than a Chinese rival that previously held the top position, said Jack Dongarra, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville who keeps the official rankings of computer performance.

K, built by Fujitsu and located at the Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan, represents a giant leap forward in speed. It will also undoubtedly be a source of national pride for Japan, at least among computer scientists, who take the race for fastest computer quite seriously.

"It’s a very impressive machine,” Mr. Dongarra said. "It’s a lot more powerful than the other computers.”

The latest ranking of the top 500 computers, to be released Monday, is determined by running a standard mathematical equation. The winning computer was able to make 8.2 quadrillion calculations per second, or in more technical terms, 8.2 petaflops per second.

The performance of K is equivalent to linking around one million desktop computers, Mr. Dongarra said.

Supercomputers are used for earthquake simulations, climate modeling, nuclear research and weapons development and testing, among other things. Businesses also use the machines for oil exploration and rapid stock trading.

Building supercomputers is costly and involves connecting thousands of small computers in a data center. K is made up of 672 cabinets filled with system boards. Although considered energy-efficient, it still uses enough electricity to power nearly 10,000 homes at a cost of around $10 million annually, Mr. Dongarra said.

The research lab that houses K plans to increase the computer’s size to 800 cabinets. That will raise its speed, which already exceeds that of its five closest competitors combined, Mr. Dongarra said.

"K” is short to the Japanese word "Kei,” which means 10 quadrillion, the ultimate goal for the number of calculations the computer can perform per second.

K succeeded in pushing the previous leader, China’s Tianhe-1A supercomputer (see below), at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, to second place. Tianhe-1A had been the first Chinese computer to be ranked on top, signaling the country’s growing technological might.

The fastest computer in the United States, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., placed third.

Asian countries have made huge investments in supercomputing and now dominate the upper echelon of the field. Japan and China hold four of the top five spots in the latest ranking.

However, in terms of the top 10, the United States remains the leader with five computers. They are at government research facilities.

Japan’s top supercomputer ranking is its first since 2004. The United States and China are the only other countries to have held the title.

The rankings, which are issued every six months, change frequently and reflect how fast computer power is advancing. For example, the top ranked computer in June 2008, at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, is now in 10th place.

Mr. Dongarra said a computer called Blue Waters, being developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, may rival K in speed.

Tianhe-I, Tianhe-1 or TH-1 (天河一号)

In October 2010, an upgraded version of the machine Tianhe-1A in English,"Milky Way" overtook the number one in the top500 list, ORNL's Jaguar to become the world's fastest supercomputer.
It happened. China just passed the US and the world with the reveal of the world's fastest supercomputer. The fully operational Tianhe-1A, located at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, scored 2.507 petaflops as measured by the LINPACK benchmark.
How fast is a petaflop?
Example: One petaflop also equals 150,000 computations for every human on the planet per second. The Sequoia, a petascale IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer has 20 petaflops, which equates to an astounding 3 million computations by every human on the planet each second. To put this number into perspective, if each of the 6.7 billion people on earth had a hand calculator and worked together on a calculation 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, it would take 320 years to do what IBM Sequoia will do in one hour.
That moves it past Cray's 2.3 petaflops Jaguar located at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee. Tianhe-1A achieved the record using 7,168 NVIDIA Tesla M2050 GPUs and 14,336 Intel Xeon CPUs consuming 4.04 megawatts. Knowing that 10 petaflops is within reach by 2012, we'll see if Tianhe-1A can maintain its title when the new Top500 supercomputers list is released.
  Tianhe-1 was developed by the Chinese National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in Changsha, Hunan. It was first revealed to the public on 29 October 2009, and was immediately ranked as the world's fifth fastest supercomputer in the TOP500 list released at the 2009 Supercomputing Conference (SC09) held in Portland, Oregon, on 16 November 2009. Tianhe achieved a speed of 563 teraflops in its first Top 500 test and had a peak performance of 1.2 petaflops. Thus at startup, the system had an efficiency of 46%. Originally, Tianhe-1 was powered by 4,096 Intel Xeon E5540 processors and 1,024 Intel Xeon E5450 processors, with 5,120 AMD graphics processing units (GPUs), which were made up of 2,560 dual-GPU ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics cards.
In October 2010, Tianhe-1A, a separate supercomputer, was unveiled at HPC 2010 China. It is now equipped with 14,336 Xeon X5670 processors and 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 general purpose GPUs. 2,048 NUDT FT1000 heterogeneous processors are also installed in the system, but their computing power was not counted into the machine's official Linpack statistics as of October 2010. Tianhe-1A has a theoretical peak performance of 4.701 petaflops. NVIDIA suggests that it would have taken "50,000 CPUs and twice as much floor space to deliver the same performance using CPUs alone." The current heterogeneous system consumes 4.04 megawatts compared to over 12 megawatts had it been built only with CPUs.
The Tianhe-1A system is composed of 112 compute cabinets, 12 storage cabinets, 6 communications cabinets, and 8 I/O cabinets. Each compute cabinet is composed of four frames, with each frame containing eight blades, plus a 16-port switching board. Each blade is composed of two compute nodes, with each compute node containing two Xeon X5670 6-core processors and one Nvidia M2050 GPU processor.
The system has 3584 total blades containing 7168 GPUs, and 14,336 CPUs. The total disk storage of the systems is 2 Petabytes implemented as a Lustre clustered file system, and the total memory size of the system is 262 Terabytes.
Another significant reason for the increased performance of the upgraded Tianhe-1A system is the Chinese-designed NUDT custom designed proprietary high-speed interconnect called Arch that runs at 160 Gbps, twice the bandwidth of InfiniBand.
The supercomputer is installed at the National Supercomputing Center, Tianjin, and is used to carry out computations for petroleum exploration and aircraft simulation. It is an "open access" computer meaning it provides services for other countries.
The latest standing you can see here!
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