China and United States Tied for Number of Top Supercomputers

China and the United States Tied for Number of Top 500 Supercomputers
Photo-illustration: Randi Klett; Illustration: Getty Images

In the latest TOP500 supercomputer ranking, published today, China’s supercomputers are still at the top of the pile—but the United States has caught up in number. Both nations now claim 171 systems in the ranking. And they are roughly equal in terms of raw computing power.

Back in November 2015, China had 108 and the United States 200, or 40 percent—its lowest fraction since 1993, when the list was created. Since then, China has continued to rise, edging past the United States for the first time with 167 systems compared to 165 in the United States in June.

Both nations added new systems to tie in terms of the number supercomputers that rank. They are followed by Germany, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. China holds 33.3 percent of the total in aggregate Linpack performance and the United States leads slightly with 33.9 percent.

Most of the top 10 supercomputers remained unchanged, with China’s Sunway TaihuLight still clocking in first at 93 petaflops and Tianhe-2 still second at 34 petaflops. Two new supercomputers joined the top 10: the Cori supercomputer at Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center—skating into the number 5 slot with 14 petaflops—and the Oakforest-PACS at Japan’s Joint Center for Advanced High Performance Computing—taking the number six slot with 13.6 petaflops. Others systems fell to make room, except for Piz Daint at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, which maintained the number eight position thanks to newly installed GPUs.

Since last November, the total performance of all 500 computers on the list is 60 percent higher—672 petaflops.

The top 10 supercomputers from the November 2016 Top500.org list.
Name Country Teraflops Power (kW)
Sunway TaihuLight China 93,015 15,371
Tianhe-2 China 33,863 17,808
Titan United States 17,590 8,209
Sequoia United States 17,173 7,890
Cori United States 14,015 3,939
Oakforest-PACS Japan 13,555 2,719
K Computer Japan 10,510 12,660
Piz Daint Switzerland 9,779 1,312
Mira United States 8,587 3,945
Trinity United States 8,101 4,233

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