The TOP500 supercomputer ranking, published today, shows China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer remaining at the top of the heap, with its 33.86 petaflops/s. The number-two spot also remains unchanged: Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan supercomputer, which can run at 17.59 petaflops/s.
Indeed, there is little change in the top 10 positions, with only two new names appearing in that elite group, Trinity (number 6, managed and operated by Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories) and Hazel-Hen (number 8, at Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum Stuttgart). These systems were both installed in 2015, as was Saudi Arabia’s Shaheen II supcomputer, which ranks 9th. The seven other supercomputers in this grouping date from 2013 or earlier.
As you’d expect with such little turn over at the top of the list, the overall rate of growth in performance of the world’s top supercomputers has been slowing in recent years. But the summed performance of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers is still up by 55 petaflops/s over the TOP500’s June 2015 ranking.
If there’s any take-home message coming through from today’s ranking, it’s the growing dominance of Chinese supercomputers on the world’s stage. China now has 109 supercomputers in the top 500, up from just 37 in July. At the same time, the U.S. share has dropped from 231 to 200. And the European component is also down, from 141 in July to 108 now.
If China ends up using its computing behemoths to significantly advance its industrial prowess, companies in other parts of the world might well worry about the trajectory evidenced in today’s rankings. But that, of course, is a big “if.”
|1||Tianhe-2||National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou|
|2||Titan||DOE/SC/Oak Ridge National Laboratory|
|4||K computer||RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS)|
|5||Mira||DOE/SC/Argonne National Laboratory|
|7||Piz Daint||Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS)|
|8||Hazel Hen||HLRS - Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum Stuttgart|
|9||Shaheen II||King Abdullah University of Science and Technology|
|10||Stampede||Texas Advanced Computing Center/Univ. of Texas United States||5,168.1|
David Schneider is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. His beat focuses on computing, and he contributes frequently to Spectrum's Hands On column. He holds a bachelor's degree in geology from Yale, a master's in engineering from UC Berkeley, and a doctorate in geology from Columbia.