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Tianhe-2: Fastest supercomputer in the world

June 19th, 2013

top500

  • The twice-yearly Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers was released on 17 June, 2013 at the International Supercomputing Conference held in Leipzig, Germany.
  • According to the list, Chinese supercomputer Tianhe-2 (also known as the Milky Way-2) is currently the world’s fastest supercomputer.
  • Tianhe-2 was placed in service ahead of schedule in 2013 after it had been expected to be completed in 2015.
  • It is housed at the National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou (NSCC-GZ) and was designed and developed by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) and by Inspur.
  • It is to be noted that Inspur is a Chinese multinational information technology company headquartered in Jinan, Shandong, China.
  • Packed with 32,000 Xeon processors alongside 48,000 Xeon Phi accelerator processors, Tianhe-2 supercomputer operates at 33.86 petaflop/sec (33,860 trillion calculations per second), on the Linpack benchmark, double that of America’s “Titan”, which topped the November, 2012 list.
  • The benchmark measures real-world performance but in theory the machine can boost that to a peak performance of 54.9 petaflop/sec.
  • The U.S.-designed Titan had achieved a performance of 17.59 petaflop per second.
  • It is to be noted that one petaflop is a thousand trillion or one followed by 15 zeroes number of operations per second.
  • Tianhe-2 is the follow-up to Tianhe-1A, which was fastest in the world in November 2010 and ranked 10th in the most recent list, with a speed of 2.57 petaflop/sec.
  • Unlike some of its Chinese predecessors, most of the Tianhe-2’s parts are developed in China, except for its main processors, which are designed by the U.S. firm Intel.
  • According to the list, five of the world’s 10 fastest supercomputers are installed in America, with the two in China, two in Germany and one in Japan.
  • USA still dominates the overall supercomputer rankings, with 252 systems making the top 500, followed by Asia with 119 and Europe with 112.

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