Japan has world’s top supercomputer

K Computer is number one in Top 500 list with eight quadrillion calculations per second

Tags: ChinaFranceFujitsu EuropeIBM (www.ibm.com)Intel CorporationJapanRIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (www.riken.go.jp/engn)United Arab EmiratesUnited Kingdom
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Japan has world’s top supercomputer Japan has regained the top spot on the Top 500 World Supercomputer list with K Computer, based at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  June 21, 2011

Japan is back at the top of the Top 500 World Supercomputer list with a supercomputer capable of performing more than eight quadrillion calculations per second (petaflop/s).

This is the first time Japan has been at the top of the list since its Earth Simulator was dethroned in November 2004, according to the latest edition of the Top 500 List of the world's top supercomputers.

The Japanese supercomputer which tops the list is called the K Computer, based  at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe.

The K Computer was built by Fujitsu and currently combines 68544 SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs, each with eight cores, for a total of 548,352 cores, nearly twice as many as any other system in the Top 500.

The K Computer - named for the Japanese word ‘Kei' for ten quadrillions which represents the system's performance goal of 10 petaflops - is more powerful than the next five systems on the list combined.

The K Computer does not use graphics processors or other accelerators and is also one of the most energy-efficient systems on the list.

The 37th edition of the list was released on 20th June at the 2011 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg.

The top supercomputer rankings are judged based on how fast they run Linpack, a benchmark application developed to solve a dense system of linear equations.

All of the top 10 systems achieved petaflop/s performance, for the first time since the Top 500 list began, and are also the only petaflop/s systems on the list.

Only four systems in the Middle East made the Top 500 list, all of them based in Saudi Arabia, including the IBM Shaheen Blue Gene/P Solution, which ranked 39 worldwide.

The US holds the top number of computers able to calculate in petaflops/s with five systems performing at that level. Japan and China have two each, and France has one.

The second supercomputer on the list, the Tianhe-1A is at the National Supercomputing Centre in Tianjin, China, with a performance of 2.6 petaflop/s. Tianhe-1A was the top supercomputer in the previous edition of the Top 500.

Jaguar, a Cray supercomputer at the US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, also dropped down the list one spot, appearing at No 3 with 1.75 petaflop/s.

Other supercomputers in the top 10 are the Nebulae at China's National Supercomputing Center in Shenzen (1.27 petaflop/s), Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (1.19 petaflop/s), Cielo at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (1.11 petaflop/s), Pleiades at the NASA Ames Research Centre in California (1.09 petaflop/s), Hopper at DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre (NERSC) in California (1.054 petaflop/s), Tera 100 at the CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) in France (1.05 petaflop/s), and Roadrunner at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (1.04 petaflop/s).

The two Chinese systems at No 2 and No 4 and the Japanese Tsubame 2.0 system at No 5 all use nVidia GPUs to accelerate computation, and a total of 19 systems on the list are using GPU technology.

China is now up to 62 systems making it the No 2 country as a user of HPC, ahead of Germany, UK, Japan and France.

Intel provides 77.4% of Top 500 computers' processing systems, with Intel's Westmere processors increasing their presence in the list strongly with 169 systems, compared with 56 in the last list.

Quad-core processors are used in 46.2% of the supercomputer systems, while 42.4% of the systems use processors with six or more cores.

Cray remains at No 2 in market share by total against Fujitsu, but IBM stays well ahead of either.

Cray's XT system series remains popular for big research customers, with three systems in the Top 10.


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