Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge (ORNL)

US still leads in supercomputing

The U.S. kept its spot at the head of the latest Top500 list of the fastest high-performance computers, with Energy Department machines in four of the top 10 spots, including the first-and second-ranked systems.

China has the largest number of Top500 machines with 227, up from 219 six months ago, according to the Top500 officials. The number of U.S.-based systems on the list, by contrast, remains near its all-time low at 118.

U.S. systems tend to be significantly larger than those in China, and thus currently make up 37.8% share of the list’s aggregate performance -- a 5.9% lead over China, which  boasts 31.9% performance share. The performance gap is shrinking, though. Six months ago, the U.S. machines' aggregate performance lead was 8.5%.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit system and the Sierra system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory remain in the top two spots. Both are IBM-built supercomputers employing Power9 CPUs and NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. It’s the fourth time in the past two years that Summit has been No. 1 on the semi-annual Top500 list.

China's Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer comes in third, and its Tianhe-2A holds the fourth spot. The rest of the top 10 includes:

  • Frontera, a Dell C6420 system installed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas.
  • Piz Daint, a Cray XC50 supercomputer installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland.
  • Trinity, a Cray XC40 system operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
  • AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure, a Fujitsu system installed at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
  • SuperMUC-NG, a Lenovo-built machine installed at the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre) in Garching, near Munich.
  • The Lassen supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is ranked number 10. It is the unclassified counterpart to the lab's classified Sierra system and shares the same IBM Power9/NVIDIA V100 GPU architecture.

Intel chips dominate the top 500 machines, with the company's processors installed in 470 of the systems. IBM is second with 14 systems, AMD chips are installed three systems and two Arm-based supercomputers made the Top 500 list: the Astra system deployed at Sandia National Laboratories and Fujitsu’s A64FX prototype system. NVIDIA GPUs are present in 136 of the 145 accelerated systems, up from 134 machines six months ago.

“Today’s world supercomputer rankings once again confirms U.S. leadership in high-performance computing and scientific discovery," Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in a statement. "Led in large part by the extraordinary work of DOE’s National Laboratories, these astonishing capabilities hold enormous promise for our country, and will transform our science, boost our economy, and safeguard our national security."

See the full list here.

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