The race for the world’s fastest supercomputers has taken an interesting turn, as the United States has surpassed China in terms of the total number of these powerful machines. While the US now boasts 150 supercomputers, up from 126 last year, China’s count has dropped from 162 to 134, according to Techspot.
Supercomputers play a crucial role in advanced scientific applications and are symbolic of a nation’s pursuit of technological advancement. The recently released 61st edition of the TOP500 list sheds light on how computing capabilities are evolving across different countries.
The United States has made significant progress by securing the top spot on the TOP500 list, surpassing other nations in terms of the absolute number of supercomputers. Leading the pack is the Frontier system at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which holds the record for the world’s fastest supercomputer and is also the first exaflop computer. The Frontier system is capable of performing a staggering 1018 operations per second, while most other supercomputers still measure their performance in petaflops or 1015 instructions per second.
The Frontier system has further extended its lead by enhancing its performance by 16 percent, now reaching a peak of 1.194 exaflops. This remarkable achievement is attributed to its impressive 8,699,904 cores. However, it is worth noting that the Frontier system currently ranks second on the High-Performance Conjugate Gradient (HPCG) benchmark, scoring 14.05.
The Japanese Fugaku system, which was displaced by Frontier last year, holds the top position with an HPCG score of 16.0.
In addition to the increase in the total number of supercomputers from the United States, chip maker AMD has also experienced a notable growth of 29 percent compared to the previous year. AMD’s chips now power four of the top 10 supercomputers on the TOP500 list, while Intel chips drive two, and IBM chips power the remaining two. Although Intel still dominates the list, AMD’s presence has expanded significantly, with its chips powering a total of 121 TOP500 supercomputers worldwide.
Surprisingly, China’s supercomputers are noticeably absent from this year’s list. China added only one supercomputer to the ranking, losing multiple spots in the process. Speculations suggest that US sanctions on the supply of high-end chips from NVIDIA and AMD may have hindered China’s progress. However, it is worth noting that China has previously demonstrated its capability to develop locally-made chips, as evidenced by the Sunway Oceanlite and Tianhe-3 systems, which were included in the TOP500 list.
Therefore, it is possible that China is deliberately withholding the announcement of its advancements in chip architectures by excluding them from such lists.
As the technological landscape continues to evolve, the competition among nations to harness the power of supercomputers remains a crucial aspect of technological development.