A Chinese supercomputer known as Tianhe-2 was today named the world's fastest machine, nearly doubling the previous speed record with its performance of 33.86 petaflops. Tianhe-2's ascendance was revealed in advance and was made official today with the release of the new Top 500 supercomputer list.
Tianhe-2 was developed at China's National University of Defense Technology and will be deployed in the country's National Supercomputing Center before the end of this 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," the Top 500 announcement states. "Tianhe-2 has 16,000 nodes, each with two Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors for a combined total of 3,120,000 computing cores."
The combined performance of the 500 systems on the list is 223 petaflops, up from 162 petaflops in the previous list released six months ago. A petaflop represents one quadrillion floating point operations per second, or a million billion.
26 systems hit at least a petaflop. IBM's Blue Gene/Q accounted for four of the top 10, while Intel provided the processors for 80.4 percent of all Top 500 systems. 39 systems use Nvidia GPUs to speed up calculations, and another 15 use other accelerator or co-processor technology such as AMD's ATI Radeon and Intel's Xeon Phi.
252 of the 500 are installed in the US, 112 are in Europe, 66 are in China, and 30 are in Japan. The slowest computer on the list hit 96.6 teraflops, compared to 76.5 teraflops for the slowest computer on last November's list.
Besides Tianhe-2, the only new entrant in the top ten is a Blue Gene/Q system named Vulcan at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.