Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, is the world’s new No. 1 system with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, according to the 41st edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The list was announced June 17 during the opening session of the 2013 International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany.
Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, by the end of the year. The surprise appearance of Tianhe-2, two years ahead of the expected deployment, marks China’s first return to the No. 1 position since November 2010, when Tianhe-1A was the top system.
Originally there was talk that Tianhe-2 would be a 100 petaflop supercomputer built for 2015. There is still the possibility that the Tianhe-2 could get GPU upgrades next year or get new chips in 2015 or that a Tianhe-3 with upgraded components could be built in 2015 to achieve a 100+ petaflop supercomputer.
In June 2011, the fastest supercomputer was the Japan’s “K” supercomputer (at 8 petaflops but now upgraded to 10.5 petaflops).
In June 2012, the fastest supercomputer was IBM’s Sequoia (it now runs at 17 petaflops.
Tianhe 2 has a peak of about 55 petaflops and a sustained of 33.8 petaflops.
An exaflop supercomputer seems to be on track for 2016-2018.
In terms of future supercomputers, China seems able to commit larger budgets to buying more and bigger supercomputers. The United States, Europe and Japan seem to facing declining supercomputer budgets.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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