China has taken top spot in the TOP500 supercomputer rankings with a home-grown machine and now outnumbers the US for supercomputers for the first time.
The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer took the crown as the world's fastest computer from the Intel-based Tianhe-2 supercomputer, which was top the last time the table was released at the start of the year.
The Sunway TaihuLight has a power capacity of 93 petaflops per second on the LINPACK benchmark.
Developed by the National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology, it is installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi, near Shanghai.
The Sunway TaihuLight has 10,649,600 compute cores comprising 40,960 nodes, and is twice as fast and three times as efficient as Tianhe-2 (which posted a LINPACK performance of 33.86 petaflop/s).
The peak power consumption under load (running the HPL benchmark) is 15.37 megawatts, or six gigaflops per watt. This enables the TaihuLight system to grab one of the top spots on the Green500 as well.
The US claimed third place with Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, achieving 17.59 petaflop/s.
The TOP500 rankings have tended to reflect shifting economic fortunes, and now has more supercomputers based in China than the US for the first time.
China has seen a surge in industrial and research installations over the past few years, and leads with 167 systems in the TOP500 followed by the US with 165. Europe's share declined from 107 to 105, and the UK has just 12.
Indeed, one of the biggest supercomputer installations in the UK will be at the Met Office in Exeter.
China also leads the performance category, thanks to the Sunway TaihuLight and the Tianhe-2 supercomputers in the top two spots.
The US isn't taking this lying down, however. The US government decided in November 2014 to throw $325m at Intel and Nvidia to build a 150-petaflop machine, although that has yet to be launched.
Supercomputer specialist Cray occupied four of the top 10 slots, but Intel dominated in terms of microprocessors. Some 455 of the 500 systems use Intel microprocessors, while IBM powers 23 and AMD Opteron powers 13.
Intriguingly, perhaps, 93 systems in the ranking use co-processors, down from 104 in the last rankings six months ago. Sixty-seven of these use Nvidia chips, 26 use Intel Xeon Phi technology, three use ATI Radeon, and two use PEZY technology.
Three systems use a combination of Nvidia and Intel Xeon Phi accelerators/coprocessors.
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