The latest list of the world's fastest supercomputers has highlighted the rapid progress made by China in the field.
"This is not the first time in recent memory that the US has relinquished the supercomputing crown," Steve Conway, research vice president of high performance computing (HPC) at IDC, told V3.co.uk.
"Japan's Earth Simulator supercomputer topped the list from 2002 to 2004, sparking concern that motivated the US government to substantially bump up funding for HPC in order to recapture the lead.
"The Chinese achievement is even more impressive. Whereas Japan's Earth Simulator could be interpreted as the last gasp of the once-dominant vector supercomputing technology, China's Tianhe-1A features standard x86 processors, along with GPGPU accelerators and pioneering Chinese technologies that could affect the HPC market for years to come."
Conway pointed out that it has taken China just three years to come from supercomputing obscurity to one of the leading players in the market.
The US still dominates with 275 of the top 500 systems, but this is down from 282 in June. The UK is also sliding down the list, and has been overtaken by France and Germany to the top two positions in Europe.
China now has 42 systems in the top 500, compared to 24 in June, while Japan has 24, up from 18 in June.
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