Range models ring the changes in Top500 supercomputer ranking

20 Juin, 2017, 16:46 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • Range models ring the changes in Top500 supercomputer ranking

A list of the world's most powerful supercomputers has been refreshed and, well, the United States crashed its way out of the top three.

The only other time when U.S. fell out of the top three in this list was in 1996.

Now the best bit of kit that the Americans have - the U.S. Department of Energy's Cray XK7 has been beaten by a machine from Switzerland, pushing the United States to number four. The supercomputer Piz Daint is named after a peak in the Grison region of Switzerland.

The upgrade boosted its performance from 9.8 petaflops to 19.6.

Chinese supercomputers now occupy the top two slots in the respected Top 500 list.

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A "flop" (floating point operation) can be thought of as a step in a calculation.

Also, despite no longer holding a top-three spot, the USA does own five of the top 10 supercomputers in the world, the most of any country.

The performance improvement meant it surpassed the 17.6 petaflop capacity of the DoE machine, located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

These kinds of number-crunching supercomputers are generally used to carry out super hard tasks, such as, incredibly detailed simulations, weather forecasts and tackling problems in physics, computational science, and geophysics. The world's most powerful computer, the Sunway TaihuLight, can perform at a rate of 93 petaflops, almost three times as much as the computer in the No. 2 spot. China has the top two spots with its Sunway TaihuaLight pushing an incredible 93 petaflops, while the Tianhe-2 is capable of 33.9 petaflops.

Japan is now working on building a supercomputer, the AI Bridging Cloud; its number-crunching ability will go beyond the Sunway machine.

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