American supercomputers are listed in Top500 in first place




In June of this year, when an American supercomputer took its first place on the Top500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers for the first time since 2012, another supercomputer from the US has now also pushed the former Chinese number two down.

A relatively new system from an American laboratory, a supercomputer made by IBM called Sierra, was still in third place in the list in June, based on the HPL benchmark used for the Top500 list. This computer was still 71.6 petaflops and a peak of 119.2 petaflops, but these performances were increased to 94.6 and 125.7 respectively. This makes Sierra marginally more powerful than the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight system, which now occupies third place.

In the first place of the current list is the IBM Summit system of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory of the US Department of Energy. This computer, which was unveiled in June, achieves increased performance of 143.5 petaflops and a peak of 200.8 petaflops in the latest HPL benchmark. This makes this supercomputer the most powerful on the list.

In total there are five supercomputers from the US Department of Energy in the top ten. China may no longer appear in the top two, but the country has a growing share in the list. China has 227 supercomputers in the Top500, accounting for 45 percent. The US has a total of 109 supercomputers in the list.

The first European supercomputer is a Swiss, Piz Daint. This is in fifth place with a computing power of 21.2 petaflops and a peak of 27.2 petaflops; this means that this computer can not match the performance of supercomputers from the top four by far. The first Dutch entry on the list can be found at location 167 and comes on the account of an unspecified software company; it took place 123 in June. Belgium still does not appear in the Top500 list. So much will have to be done before a European supercomputer is in the top three by 2020, as the European Commission wants .

Summit is a computer with a surface of approximately two tennis courts and is equipped with 27,648 gpu’s. These are Tesla V100 accelerators from Nvidia. The total system consists of 4608 nodes, with each node having six V100 accelerators in combination with two IBM Power9 cpu’s with 22 cores at 3.1GHz. The gpu’s and the cpus are interconnected via Nvidia’s NVLink. The total memory of the system amounts to about 10 petabytes.


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