The United States regains first place in the Top 500 supercomputers, but China would already have better in its hands
The United States is again on the top step of the podium in the top 500 of the most powerful supercomputers. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Frontier system running AMD EPYC CPUs took over the top spot from last year’s champion, the Japanese Fugaku ARM A64X system.
This machine is still in the integration and testing phase at ORNL, Tennessee, but will eventually be used by the US Air Force and the US Department of Energy.
The United States regains the top spot in the Top 500 supercomputers
Frontier, powered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Cray EX platform, is by far the best machine. It is the first true (known) exa-scale system, achieving no less than 1.1 exaflop on the Linmark benchmark. Fugaku, on the other hand, can only manage half as much, 442 petaflops, which was still enough to keep him in first place for the past two years.
Frontier is also one of the most efficient supercomputers. With 52.23 gigaflops per Watt, it outperforms Japan’s MN-3 system to grab the top spot on the Green500 list. “The fact that the most powerful machine in the world is also the most efficient in its energy management is simply breathtaking,” said ORNL director Thomas Zacharia during a press conference.
But China would already have better in its hands
Other Top 10 machines include another HPE creation with a Cray EX system, installed at EuroHPC in Finland (151.9 petaflops), IBM’s Summit system with 22-core Power CPUs and NVIDIA Tesla GPUs V100 (148.8 petaflops) and Lawrence Livermore’s Sierra, a more modest version of the Summit, which still offers 94.6 petaflops.
China holds two places in this Top 10 with the Sunway TaihuLight from the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and the Tianhe-2A, designed by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT).
However, China is rumored to have two exaflop-scale scale systems already, according to the Linmark benchmark, on the new Sunway Oceanlite and Tianhe-3. That being said, because of the difficult situation with semiconductors, China would prefer not to communicate on the subject.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.