America’s Supercomputer Might Continues Shrinking
Tianhe-2, also known as Milky Way 2, at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.

America’s Supercomputer Might Continues Shrinking

… while China’s continues growing

While the US continues to have the biggest presence on the list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, its share is shrinking. Today, America’s share is lower than it has ever been, or at least lower than it has been since the first Top500 list was created in 1993.

The latest edition of the biannual Top500, released Monday, has fewer US supercomputers than even the previous edition, which came out in July of this year. Meanwhile, China’s presence on the list continues to grow by leaps and bounds. There are three times more Chinese systems on the list today than there were in July.

China also continues to command the top spot on the list. The Tianhe-2 supercomputer, also known as Milky Way-2, built by China’s National University of Defense Technology, has been designated as the world’s most powerful supercomputer for the sixth consecutive time.

Europe’s share of the list is declining as well, while Asia overall commands a growing percentage of the pool of the mightiest supercomputers.

Top500 is compiled by scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Prometeus, a German company that organizes the annual International Supercomputing Conference.

The rate of performance growth in supercomputing overall has slowed down. There has been little change at the top of the list in recent years, while performance at the bottom has been increasing but not as quickly as it used to.

Here are the highlights in numbers:

US and China

  • 46.4 percent: US share of HPC systems on the first Top500 list, published in June 1993
  • 41.3 percent: US share of HPC systems on the latest Top500 list, published in November 2015
  • 0: China’s share of the first Top500
  • 21.8 percent: China’s share of the latest Top500
  • 31: The number of US supercomputers that were on the July 2015 list but were pushed off in the latest edition

Top500 countries piechart

Country share of HPC systems on the November 2015 Top500 list (Chart courtesy of Top500)

Europe’s Presence Also Shrinks

  • 26.4 percent: Europe’s share of HPC systems on the June 1993 list
  • 21.6 percent: Europe’s share on the latest, November 2015, list
  • 24.4 percent: Asia’s share on the June 1993 list
  • 34.5 percent: Asia’s share on the latest list

The Slowing HPC Performance Growth

  • 2: The number of new systems in the Top 10 since July 2015
  • 6: The number of systems in the Top 10 that were installed in 2011 or 2012
  • 90 percent: Performance growth of the last system on the list between 1994 and 2008
  • 55 percent: Performance growth of the last system on the list between 2008 and now

Co-Processors on the Rise

  • 104: The number of systems on the latest list that use accelerator/co-processor technology by Nvidia, AMD, or Intel
  • 90: The number of systems using accelerators on the July 2015 list
  • 66: The number of systems using Nvidia co-processors
  • 27: The number of systems using Intel Xeon Phi chips for acceleration
  • 3: The number of systems using AMD’s ATI Radeon for acceleration
  • 4: The number of systems using a combination of Nvidia and Intel accelerators
TAGS: Hardware
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