The Chinese Tianhe-2 Is The Fastest Supercomputer

Posted Jun 18, 2013

The Tianhe-2 is a supercomputer that is almost twice as fast as the next most powerful computer.  The Tianhe-2 was developed by the Chinese government’s National University of Defense Technology and it was named at the top of the fastest 500 supercomputers list compiled by international researchers.  The researchers were surprised because they though the supercomputer would not be launched until 2015.

The last time that China took the top of the supercomputer list was between November 2010 and June 2011.  The U.S. took the spot for the second and third faster supercomputers with the Titan and Sequoia.  The Japanese K computer was named number four.

The list is created twice per year and it is overseen by University of Mannheim computer science professor Hans Meuer.  This list was published to coincide with the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany.

The Tianhe-2 operates at 33.86 petaflops per second, which is the equivalent of 33,860 trillion calculations per second.  The Tianhe-2 was sponsored by the Chinese government’s 863 High Technology Program.  This program is a way to make China more competitive and less dependent overseas rivals.

The supercomputer will be installed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou.  The computer will use a total of 3.12 million processor cores using the Intel Ivy Bridge and Xeon Phi chips.

The Titan supercomputer was developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and it hits around 17.59 petaflops per second according to the Linpack benchmark.

According to the BBC, China now accounts for 66 of the fastest computers on the list.  Six months ago, they had 72 on the list.  The United States has 252 systems while Japan has 30, the UK has 29, France has 23, and Germany has 19.

Below is a list of the top 10 supercomputers:
1. Tianhe-2 (China)
2. Titan (US)
3. Sequoia (US)
4. K computer (Japan)
5. Mira (US)
6. Stampede (US)
7. Juqueen (Germany)
8. Vulcan (US)
9. SuperMuc (Germany)
10. Tianhe-1A (China)

[Image Credit: Ars Technica]