Big Data

Photos: The world's fastest supercomputers

1. ​Sunway TaihuLight - China (New entrant)

The brand new Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer is three times faster than the previous reigning champ, the Tianhe-2.

Sitting within the National Supercomputing Center in the city of Wuxi, the Chinese system will aid research and engineering work, ranging from climate modelling to advanced manufacturing.

Unlike the Intel-powered Tianhe-2, previously the fastest supercomputer in the world, the machine relies heavily on Chinese technology, utilising a new ShenWei processor and custom interconnect made in Wuxi.

The TaihuLight has 40,960 64-bit, RISC processors, each of which has 260 cores. Together these 1.45 GHz SW26010 processors have a peak performance equivalent to 125 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second) -- 93 petaflops in the Linpack benchmark. Each compute node has 32GB DDR3 memory, for 1.3 PB across the whole machine. The TaihuLight runs the Linux-based Sunway Raise OS and drew 15.4MW when benchmarked, less than the 17.8MW of the Tianhe-2.

Image: Jack Dongarra

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.