China's ambition to enter the supercomputing arena has become obvious with a system called Nebulae, built from a Dawning TC3600 Blade system with Intel X5650 processors and Nvidia Tesla C2050 GPUs. Nebulae is currently the fastest system worldwide in theoretical peak performance at 2.98 petaflop/second. With a Linpack performance of 1.271 petaflop/s it holds the No. 2 spot on the 35th edition of the closely watched TOP500 list of supercomputers.
The newest version of the TOP500 list, which is issued twice yearly, was formally presented Monday (May 31) at the 25th International Supercomputing Conference at the CCH-Congress Center in Hamburg, Germany.
Jaguar, which is located at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, held on to the No. 1 spot on the TOP500 with its record 1.75 petaflop/s performance speed running the Linpack benchmark. Jaguar has a theoretical peak capability of 2.3 petaflop/s and nearly a quarter of a million cores. One petaflop/s refers to one quadrillion calculations per second.
Nebulae, which is located at the newly build National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen, China, achieved 1.271 petaflop/s running the Linpack benchmark, which puts it in the No. 2 spot on the TOP500 behind Jaguar. In part due to its Nvidia GPU accelerators, Nebulae reports an impressive theoretical peak capability of almost 3 petaflop/s—the highest ever on the TOP500.
Roadrunner, which was the first ever petaflop/s system at Los Alamos in June 2008, dropped to No. 3 with a performance of 1.04 petaflop/s.
At No. 5 is the most powerful system in Europe—an IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer located at the Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) in Germany. It achieved 825.5 teraflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.
Tianhe-1 (meaning River in Sky), installed at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin, China, is a second Chinese system in the TOP10 and ranked at No. 7. Tianhe-1 and Nebulae are both hybrid designs with Intel Xeon processors and AMD or Nvidia GPUs used as accelerators. Each node of Tianhe-1 consists of two AMD GPUs attached to two Intel Xeon processors.
The performance of Nebulae and Tianhe-1 were enough to catapult China in the No.2 spot of installed performance (9.2 percent) ahead of various European countries, but still clearly behind the U.S. (55.4 percent).
Here are some other highlights from the latest list showing changes from the November 2009 edition:
The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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