China has taken the top spot from the United States in this year’s Top 500 listing of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The list was announced today during the opening session of the 2013 International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany.

The updated version of China’s Tianhe-2 executed 33.86 petaflop/second, or 33.86 thousand trillion floating point operations per second, almost twice as fast as second place Titan, a Cray XK7 system at the Department of Energy laboratory in the U.S. The Titan, which won last year’s top place, clocked in at 17.59 petaflop/s.
(China’s Tianhe-2 – Image from the Top500 Supercomputers site)

The Tianhe-2 (Milky Way-2) is installed at the National Supercomputer Centre in Guangzhou, China. The supercomputer has a total of 3.12 million computing cores. It is expected to be fully operation in about two years time.


It was built by China’s National University of Defense Technology with 16,000 nodes. Each node runs two Intel Xeon IvyBridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors.

Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, also dropped one position and is now the No. 3 system. Sequoia was first delivered in 2011 and has achieved 17.17 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 1,572,864 cores. Sequoia is also one of the most energy efficient systems on the list, consuming a total of 7.84 MW and delivering 2,031.6 Mflops/W.

Fujitsu’s “K computer” installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan, is now the No. 4 system, with a performance of 10.51 Petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores

A second BlueGene/Q system, Mira, installed at Argonne National Laboratory, is at No. 5 with 8.59 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark using 786,432 cores.

Despite the rout, The U.S. remains the world leader in number of super computers. The country has 253 of the listed 500 supercomputers. China ranks second with 65 systems, followed by Japan, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Get more Top 500 supercomputer highlights here

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