Every six months, the Top500 Organization ranks the five hundred fastest supercomputers in the world. And for the fourth consecutive list, China’s Tianhe-2 is on top, performing at 33.86 petaflop/s. That is nearly twice as fast as the number two computer, Cray’s Titan supercomputer.
The 44th Top 500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, revealed during November’s International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in New Orleans, contained only one new entry – a 3.57 petaflops Cray CS-Storm system installed at a secret US government facility.
INDIA IN TOP-500
India has only 9 systems on the Top500 list ranking, India’s fastest ‘Prithvi’ (IBM made) is at 71 rank and India’s second fastest ‘ParamYuva-II’ (C-DAC made) is at 131 rank. In this computer age nation’s international importance is often measured on the number and the size of supercomputers it runs.
China has 61 supercomputers in the Top 500, down from 76 since June’s list, compared to a whopping 231 in the US. However, the US has never had fewer in the Top 500 – a year ago it had 265.
THE TOP TEN
1 – Tianhe-2 : Placed at China’s National University of Defence Technology in Guangzhou, Tianhe-2 is the world’s top system with a performance of 33.86 petaflops. It is named after the Milky Way.
2 – Titan : A Cray system at the US Department of the Oak Ridge National Observatory at Harvard, Massachusetts, it is a 17.5 petaflop system for a range of science projects.
3 – Sequoia : A former top-ranker, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, concentrates on extending the life of ageing nuclear weapons and conducting experiments on nuclear fusion. This IBM Blue Gene machine can sustain 17.1 petaflops.
4 – K computer : Fujitsu’s K computer sits in Japan’s RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, where the machine uses its 10.5 petaflops to solve the energy, sustainability, healthcare, climate change, industrial and space related problems.
5 – Mira : Another IBM Blue Gene machine, the Mira supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, is owned by the US Department of Energy (DOE). It’s of 8.58 petaflops.
6 – Piz Daint : It is housed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, this Cray system uses its 6.27 petaflops primarily for climate and weather modelling, though also for astrophysics, materials science and life science.
7 – Stampede : This Dell-made 5.1 petaflops system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, available for open research, with projects including drug molecule construction to weather forecasting to astrophysics.
8 – Juqueen : This IBM Blue Gene machine boasts 5 petaflops and does neuroscience, computational biology, climate research and quantum physics at the Forschungszentrum Juelich, Germany.
9 – Vulcan : Almost identical to the Juqueen, this IBM BlueGene system runs 4.29 petaflops at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California.
10 – *Top secret* : It’s a 3.57 petaflops system by Cray, this US government-owned supercomputer lacks the usual name, and its whereabouts isn’t publicly known.