China Again Holds Top Spot, Increases Presence on Supercomputing List

China increasingly has the world’s most powerful supercomputers, while the United States continues its recent trend of decreasing prominence in development of such systems.

That’s one takeaway from the latest TOP500 list, the forty-sixth such worldwide ranking of systems, led in part by UT’s Jack Dongarra.

For China, the Tianhe-2 held on to the top position for the sixth consecutive time in the rankings, which are released every six months. Meanwhile the Cray XK7 housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory maintained its No. 2 spot.

Dongarra, director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory at UT and a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in the College of Engineering, said the rankings aren’t surprising—but they do underscore the need for renewed investment in supercomputing.

China nearly tripled the number of computers it has on the Top500, going from thirty-seven to 109. On the other hand, the number of US systems ranked is now at the lowest point in the history of the list, with only 200 systems making the cut—down thirty-one from the rankings released in the summer.

“China has been placing a major emphasis on developing ever more powerful computing systems,” said Dongarra. “While that is great to an extent, additional computing isn’t just about more numerical computing capability but rather how you use it.”

China is also shaping computing through manufacturing.

Beijing-based Lenovo alone increased its presence on the list, going from three machines to twenty-five, while Sugon, another Chinese company, now has forty-nine systems, more than even IBM.

The list began in 1993 as part of an exercise by researchers at a conference in Germany. Six months later, they decided to revisit the list to see how it might have changed, and they have done so every six months since.

Dongarra compiles the list along with Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Martin Meuer of the German company Prometeus.

C O N T A C T :

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)