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TOP500 Updates Semi-Annual List of World’s Most Powerful Supercomputers

Gorodenkoff /

Gorodenkoff /

TOP500 has just released the 53rd edition semi-annual list of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and China dominates by sheer number.

For the first time since the Top5oo list started 26 years ago, all 500 systems now deliver at least a petaflop on the High-Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark. The entry-level supercomputer on the list is currently at 1.022 petaflops.

With that said, there are no other surprises. Aside from two new entries in the top 10, the whole list has mainly remained the same.

Like the previous list, the United States dominated the top list, and IBM’s supercomputer remainS at the top.

By effect, the U.S also tops the list in overall HPL capacity. With a combined figure of 243.2 petaflops, IBM’s Summit and Sierra alone make up for 15.6 percent of the total HPL flops.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

10 Most Powerful Supercomputers on the Top500 List

Here are the top 10 most powerful supercomputers on the TOP500 list.

1. IBM Summit

IBM Summit tops the list of Top500's most powerful supercomputers semi-annual rankings
IBM Summit tops the list of Top500’s most powerful supercomputers semi-annual rankings | Image courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory/ Licensed under CC 2.0

Summit retains the top spot as the world’s most powerful supercomputer. With an improved HPL from six months ago, this computer now delivers 148.6 Petaflops.

Summit is powered by Nvidia V100 GPUs and Power 9 CPUs. You’ll still find the supercomputer at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee.

2. IBM Sierra

Like the Summit, the IBM Sierra supercomputer derives its computational power from Power 9 CPUs and Nvidia V100 GPUs. However, its HPL remained the same as last years’, with 94.6 Petaflops.

The Sierra is installed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

3. Sunway TaihuLight

Sunway TaihuLight is among Top500's most powerful supercomputers
China’s Sunway TaihuLight is among Top500’s most powerful supercomputers | Image courtesy of Li Xiang/Xinhua via AP

With 93.0 petaflops, the Sunway TaihuLight is right behind the IBM Sierra. The National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) in China developed this supercomputer and installed it at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi.

Over 10 million SW26010 processor cores power the Sunway TaihuLight.

4. Tianhe-2A (Milky Way-2A)

Like the previous computer on this list, Tianhe-2A is Chinese-owned. Although you’ll find it at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, the machine was developed by The National University of Defense Technology (NUDT).

The Tianhe-2A is powered by a combination of Matrix-2000 and Intel Xeon processors. Together, these processors produce an HPL result of 61.4 petaflops.

5. TACC Frontera Dell EMC

TACC Dell Frontera makes it to Top500's most powerful supercomputers this year
Dell Frontera makes it to Top500’s most powerful supercomputers this year | Image courtesy Jorge Salazar/TACC

The Frontera is the only new supercomputer on the TOP500 most powerful supercomputers list. The Dell C6420 system comes with Intel Xeon Platinium 8280, which delivers an HPL of 23.5 petaflops.

This supercomputer is installed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas.

6. Piz Daint

While the Piz Daint may hold the sixth position in the world, it remains the most powerful supercomputer in Europe.

A Cray XC50 system, the computer is powered by Intel Xeon CPUs and Nvidia P100 GPUs. It is installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland.

7. Trinity

Los Alamos Trinity Supercomputer is number 7 on Top500's List of most powerful supercomputers
Los Alamos Trinity Supercomputer is number 7 on Top500’s List of most powerful supercomputers | Los Alamos National Lab

Trinity is an XC40 system that’s powered by Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors. With its recent improvement to 20.2 petaflops, this supercomputer easily clinched the 7th spot on the list.

Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory currently operate the Trinity.

8. The AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI)

You’ll find the AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure or ABCI supercomputer at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan. The Fujitsu-built system has Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs as well as Intel Xeon Gold processors.

Thanks to this combination, the ABCI delivers an HPL result of 19.9 petaflops, earning it the 8th spot on the list.

9. SuperMUC-NG

Germany's SuperMUC-NG is among the top 10 of Top500's semi-annual list of most powerful supercomputers this year
Germany’s SuperMUC-NG is among the top 10 of Top500’s semi-annual list of most powerful supercomputers this year | Image courtesy of Bayerischer Rundfunk via Top500,org

With 19.5 Petaflops, the SuperMUC-NG is just slightly below the ABCI on the list. The Lenovo-built system comes with Intel Platinium processors, including the company’s Omni-Path interconnect.

It’s installed at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center in Garching, Germany.

10. The Lassen

Finally, at the tenth spot is the upgraded Lassen supercomputer. Formerly at 15.4 petaflops, the Lassen’s new result on HPL has enjoyed a boost to 18.2 petaflops.

The system is powered by a combination of IBM Power 9 and Nvidia V100 GPU, and you’ll find it at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Read More: Scientists Create Viable Origin of Life Theory Using Supercomputers

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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