China’s Tianhe-2 Supercomputer Takes No. 1 Ranking on 41st TOP500 List

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June 17, 2013

MANNHEIM, Germany; BERKELEY, Calif.; and KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, is the world’s new No. 1 system with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, according to the 41st edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The list was announced June 17 during the opening session of the 2013 International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany.

Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, by the end of the year. 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. Tianhe-2 has 16,000 nodes, each with two Intel Xeon IvyBridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors for a combined total of 3,120,000 computing cores.

Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory and previously the No. 1 system, is now ranked No. 2. Titan achieved 17.59 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 261,632 of its NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores. Titan is one of the most energy efficient systems on the list, consuming a total of 8.21 MW and delivering 2,143 Mflops/W.

Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, also dropped one position and is now the No. 3 system. Sequoia was first delivered in 2011 and has achieved 17.17 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 1,572,864 cores. Sequoia is also one of the most energy efficient systems on the list, consuming a total of 7.84 MW and delivering 2,031.6 Mflops/W.

Fujitsu’s “K computer” installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan, is now the No. 4 system with a performance of 10.51 Pflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores.

A second BlueGene/Q system, Mira, installed at Argonne National Laboratory is at No. 5 with 8.59 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 786,432 cores.

Rounding out the Top 10 are the upgraded Stampede at the Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas, Austin; JUQUEEN at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany (and the most powerful system in Europe); an IBM BlueGene/Q system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; SuperMUC, an IBM iDataplex system installed at Leibniz Rechenzentrum in Germany; and Tianhe-1A at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China.

According to TOP500 Editor Jack Dongarra, who toured the Tianhe-2 development facility in May, the system is noteworthy in a number of aspects. “Most of the features of the system were developed in China, and they are only using Intel for the main compute part. That is, the interconnect, operating system, front-end processors and software are mainly Chinese,” Dongarra said.

About the TOP500 List

The first version of what became today’s TOP500 list started as an exercise for a small conference in Germany in June 1993. Out of curiosity, the authors decided to revisit the list in November 1993 to see how things had changed. About that time they realized they might be on to something and decided to continue compiling the list, which is now a much-anticipated, much-watched and much-debated twice-yearly event.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.