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Communications of the ACM

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China Still Has the Fastest Supercomputer, but the ­.s. Still Rules


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Tianhe-2, the top-ranked supercomputer in the June 2014 Top500 ranking.

China is home to the world's most powerful supercomputer, while the U.S. produces more supercomputers than any other country.

Credit: Top500.org

Although China has the world's most powerful supercomputer, which is capable of speeds of up to 33.86 petaflops per second, the United States produces more supercomputers than any other country, according to the latest Top500 supercomputer list.

IDC analyst Steve Conway estimates about 90 percent of the systems on the Top500 ranking are manufactured by U.S. vendors, including 65 of the 76 Chinese systems on the most recent list.

Still, U.S. dominance in supercomputer production is by no means assured, given intensifying global competition. The U.S. accounted for 233 systems on the Top500 list last month, slipping below 50 percent for the first time. Conway attributes this decline to the Chinese push. "The U.S. has lost ground mostly due to other nations investing more, not as much from a reduction in U.S. spending as much as a lack of growth," says IDC analyst Earl Joseph.

University of Tennessee professor and ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award recipient Jack Dongarra, one of the academic leaders of the Top500 initiative, cites aggressive Chinese high-performance computing investment as another factor in the eroding U.S. share of leading supercomputing systems. "Remember, in 2001 China had zero systems on the Top500," Dongarra says.

From Computerworld
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