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U.S. Drops to 4th In Supercomputer Rankings

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted June 19, 2017


The U.S. is now out of the medal round as of the latest semi-annual ranking of the world's fastest 500 supercomputers. The U.S.-based Titan system deployed at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, once the world's fastest system, has fallen to number four on the list.

The top system in the world remains the Sunway TaihuLight, which is deployed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China. The Sunway Piz DaintTaihuLight is powered by 10,649,600 processors cores and has held the number one position on the Top 500 list since June 2016.

The Sunway TaihuLight provides a whopping 93 petaflops of performance, nearly three times the number two supercomputer, the Tianhe-2, which is also based in China. The Tianhe-2 is powered by 3,120,000 processor cores and provides 33.9 petaflops of performance.

Now coming in third place is the Piz Daint system, which is deployed in the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), with 19.6 petaflops of performance. Piz Daint is not an entirely new system and had previously been ranked as the 8th most powerful system at 9.8 petaflops. The CSCS upgraded the system with NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs, providing a performance boost to 19.6 petaflops.

The Piz Daint is a Cray XC50 system and displaces the Cray XK7 system known as Titan. Titan remains the most powerful system in the U.S. at 17.6 petaflops.

The Titan first debuted on the Top 500 supercomputer list in November 2012, when it was the most powerful system on the planet.

America Stepping Up Efforts to Regain Supercomputing Lead

Though the U.S. does not hold any of the top three spots on the Top 500 lists, America still has more supercomputers on the list than any other nation. Five of the top ten supercomputers are in the U.S., and overall there are 169 supercomputers in the U.S., edging out China which currently has 160.

The U.S. isn't sitting idly by watching its lead in supercomputing erode to other nations. Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the Exascale Computing Project (ECP) in a bid to help accelerate supercomputing in the U.S.

As part of the effort, the U.S. government is providing $258 million in funding spread across multiple vendors, including Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Cray Inc. (CRAY), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), International Business Machines (IBM), Intel Corp. (Intel) and NVIDIA Corp. (NVIDIA).

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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