China overtakes United States in TOP500 list of world's fastest supercomputers

Illustration of supercomputing machines as a bar graph

Illustration of supercomputing machines as a bar graph

"It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the Top500 ranking", the survey said, "with the US presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list's inception". It has made it clear that China now owns most of the world's supercomputing power with 202 systems in the TOP500 list 2017. The rankings also point to the USA having the lowest number of listed systems it has ever had, since the list was first compiled 25 years ago.

Across all 500 supercomputers, the combined performance totalled 845 petaflops, up from 749 petaflops six months ago, and 672 petaflops one year ago. Still, the report noted, 144 systems puts the United States in second place for the most recent rankings, with Japan in a far third place with 35.

China has not only overtaken the U.S.in sheer numbers, but also in aggregate performance. The US had 29.6%.

China's Sunway TaihuLight continues to hold the top spot with a High Performance Linpack (HPL) score of 93.01 petaflops.

If China successfully develops a super supercomputer prototype this coming summer, it will take the lead in an global race to a build a system capable of one quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second. There's a new American entry at number seven - Trinity, recently upgraded to hit 14.14 petaflops. Switzerland's Piz Daint sat in third place with 19.59 petaflops, while Japan's Gyoukou supercomputer took fourth place with 19.14 petaflops.

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At number five is America's five-year old Titan, which manages 17.59 petaflops.

"For the second time in a row there is no system from the US under the TOP3", Top500 said in a statement. However, the dominance of the Sunway TaihuLight, and the fact that it was built with Chinese chips, could point to China gradually taking a bigger leadership role in the worldwide semiconductor industry as well.

China surpassed the U.S.in the Top500 list for the first time in 2016.

"It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the TOP500 ranking, with the USA presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list's inception 25 years ago", Top500 said.

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