Computers

Homegrown Chinese supercomputer claims world number one ranking

Homegrown Chinese supercompute...
The Sunway TaihuLight is equipped with 10,649,600 computing cores and is capable of carrying out some 93 quadrillion calculations per second
The Sunway TaihuLight is equipped with 10,649,600 computing cores and is capable of carrying out some 93 quadrillion calculations per second
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Whilst the Sunway TaihuLight CPU may need some 15.37 MW to calculate at its top speed, this power usage is said to be very low for a supercomputer
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Whilst the Sunway TaihuLight CPU may need some 15.37 MW to calculate at its top speed, this power usage is said to be very low for a supercomputer
The new machine was designed and created by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology
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The new machine was designed and created by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology
The new supercomputer uses a Chinese-developed computer core chip just 25 square CM (3.8 sq in) in size
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The new supercomputer uses a Chinese-developed computer core chip just 25 square CM (3.8 sq in) in size
The Sunway TaihuLight is just one of 167 other supercomputers in China
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The Sunway TaihuLight is just one of 167 other supercomputers in China
The Sunway TaihuLight is equipped with 10,649,600 computing cores and is capable of carrying out some 93 quadrillion calculations per second
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The Sunway TaihuLight is equipped with 10,649,600 computing cores and is capable of carrying out some 93 quadrillion calculations per second
Interchanger cables on the Sunway TaihuLight Chinese supercomputer
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Interchanger cables on the Sunway TaihuLight Chinese supercomputer

A supercomputer equipped with 10,649,600 computing cores and capable of carrying out some 93 quadrillion calculations per second has just been crowned the world's most powerful supercomputer. Dubbed Sunway TaihuLight, this computing behemoth from China outperforms its nearest rival – another Chinese supercomputer – by being twice as fast and three times as efficient.

Wiping the floor with its rival supercomputer, Tianhe-2, which can "only" perform 33.86 quadrillion calculations per second, the new machine was designed and created by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology and brought on line at the National Supercomputing Center, Wuxi, in east China's Jiangsu province.

Using a Chinese-developed computer core chip just 25 cm2 (3.8 in2) in size, the new computer achieved a Rmax rating on the LPACK (Linear PACKage of algebra routines – the benchmark against which supercomputers are measured) of 93,014,594 megaflops. That is, around 93 petaflops or 93 quadrillion floating-point operations per second. By comparison, the commercially-available Nvidia DGX-1 "Supercomputer in a box" has a rated performance of 170 teraflops or just 0.17 of a petaflop.

The new machine was designed and created by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology
The new machine was designed and created by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology

Whilst the Sunway TaihuLight may need some 15.37 MW to calculate at its top speed, this power usage is said to be very low for a supercomputer and is, in fact, one of the most energy-efficient gigaflop per Watt ratings of any of its many rivals. And there are a good many of those that use a lot more power than the Sunway, but can't even approach it for processing speed. The Riken K-computer, for example, uses about 12.6 MW to produce just over a tenth of the processing speed of the Chinese machine, at some 10.5 petaflops.

Topping the list of 500 of the world's fastest supercomputers announced at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany, the Sunway TaihuLight is just one of 167 other supercomputers in China (one more than the US possesses), which has quickly become a world-leader in supercomputer processing speeds. An American computer does come in third place, however, with the DCOE/SC/Oak Ridge Laboratory XK7 Kray, at 17.5 petaflops.

The Top 500 inventory of supercomputers also lists 170 supercomputers across the Americas, where there are four in Brazil, and one in Canada. Meanwhile, Europe has 105 machines across a range of countries, and Asia has 218 (including the 167 already mentioned in China), there are only six supercomputers in Oceania and a lone high-performance machine in the whole of Africa.

And, if you were wondering who came last, it was also another Chinese machine; an Inspur TS10000, with a relatively meager 0.286 petaflops.

Sources: TOP500, Xinhua

6 comments
rnmgizmag
That's a lot of hacking power!
Daishi
I wonder how much of the tech they used was "borrowed" from other companies.
Wolf0579
Daishi, All of it. I just hope the NSA has got a bigger one tucked away somewhere. I do not trust the chinese government one iota.
lateral_geniculate@yahoo.com
@Daishi Considering that the idea of supercomputer is prior art, I'd say all of it. But then again, considering that China invented the first computer, the abacus, perhaps none of it.
GlassHalfEmpty
Is anyone but China even trying? Supercomputers are so 90s..
MBadgero
Very impressive machine. There does seem to be something wrong with the way they count cores in supercomputers. 93,014,600,000,000,000 FLOPs / 10,696,400 cores = 8,695,878,987 FLOPs/core. Since they are listed at 1.45 GHz, each 'core' is doing six FLOPs/cycle. Tianhe-2 does five FLOPS/core. Titan - Cray XK7, 14 FLOPS/core. Perhaps we need a new definition of 'core'.