New Chinese supercomputer is world’s fastest

The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer.— Photo: AP  

A new Chinese computer system that can make 93 quadrillions calculations per second has claimed the top spot on the list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

The computer called Sunway TaihuLight developed by the National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC) is built entirely using processors designed and made in China. It is intended for use in engineering and research including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics.

“It would take 7.2 billion people using electronic calculators 32 years, or two million desktop computers working together for one minute, to do the same calculation the computer can solve in just 60 seconds,” said Yang Guangwen, head of the research centre.

The supercomputer, which is installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in China, displaced Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer that has claimed the top spot on the past six TOP500 lists. The closely watched list is issued twice a year.

Sunway TaihuLight is twice as fast and three times as efficient as Tianhe-2, which posted a performance of 33.86 quadrillions of calculations per second.

Titan at third position

Titan, a Cray X40 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is now at the third position, with 17.59 quadrillions of calculations per second.

Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Fujitsu’s K computer installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Japan are at the fourth and fifth positions respectively.

Other systems in the top ten include a BlueGene/Q system called Mira in the U.S., a Cray X40 system known as Trinity, and the most powerful system in Europe — a Cray XC30 system called Piz Daint at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre.

Hazel Hen installed at HLRS in Germany and Shaheen II in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, both Cray XC40 systems, are at the ninth and tenth positions.

The latest list marks the first time since the inception of the TOP500 that the U.S. is not home to the largest number of systems.

With a surge in industrial and research installations registered over the last few years, China leads with 167 systems and the U.S. is second with 165. China also leads the performance category, thanks to the top two systems on the list.

Among countries with the most computers on the top 500 list, Germany was in fourth place with 26 systems, France was next with 18, followed by Britain with 12. The TaihuLight is due to be introduced Tuesday at the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt. — PTI/IANS