Data Centers

China overtakes US in TOP500 list of world's fastest supercomputers

According to the TOP500 list, China is beating the US in total number of ranked systems and in aggregate performance.

China has officially overtaken the US as the country with the largest number of supercomputers to grace the TOP500 list, according to a recent article on TOP500's website. China had 202 systems on the list, compared to the 144 from the US, according to the report.

The 202 systems marks the largest number of supercomputers that China has ever had on the TOP500 list at once. The rankings also point to the US having the lowest number of listed systems it has ever had, since the list was first compiled 25 years ago.

What's interesting, the report noted, is that these rankings weren't the case a mere six months ago. At that point, the US had 169 systems on the list, leading China by 9 ranked systems. Still, the report noted, 144 systems puts the US in second place for the most recent rankings, with Japan in a far third place with 35.

SEE: Photos: The world's 25 fastest supercomputers

In addition to claiming a larger number of supercomputers, China also bested the US in performance. In aggregate performance, China had 35.4% of the total flops represented on the TOP500. The US had 29.6%.

The top-ranked list of systems didn't change much with the latest rankings, with the Sunway TaihuLight—developed by China's National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology—remaining in the top spot. The TaihuLight can hit 93.01 petaflops.

China took no. 2 as well with the Tianhe-2 (Milky Way-2) system, which can hit a performance of 33.86 petaflops, the report said. Switzerland's Piz Daint sat in third place with 19.59 petaflops, while Japan's Gyoukou supercomputer took fourth place with 19.14 petaflops.

The US rounded out the top five with Titan, a Cray XK7 system that is capable of 17.59 petaflops.

The total number of supercomputers on the list using Intel processors rose to 94.2%, up from 92.8% six months ago. Additionally, HPE represents nearly a quarter of the systems on the TOP500 list, the report said.

Despite the role reversal of China and the US in the recent TOP500 ranking, the two countries continue to dominate the list with little to no close competitors. However, the dominance of the Sunway TaihuLight, and the fact that it was built with Chinese chips, could point to China gradually taking a bigger leadership role in the worldwide semiconductor industry as well.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. China leads the US in total number of ranked supercomputers in the TOP500 list, released on Monday.
  2. China also leads in aggregate performance, claiming 35.4% of the total flops represented on the list. The US represents 29.6%.
  3. Despite the switching roles, the US and China remain the dominant forces in supercomputing worldwide.

Also see

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Image: TOP500

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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