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Supercomputers “slow down”

by on25 June 2014

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It seems that the rapid pace in the development of supercomputers has ground to a halt.

The group that measures the world's Top 500 fastest supercomputers hasn't crowned a new champion in more than a year because no one has built anything sexy for a while.

Tianhe-2, of China’s National Super Computer Centre, took over the top spot in June 2013 with a measured speed of 33.86 petaflop/s, and it held on to #1 in both the November 2013 list and the June 2014 list released yesterday.

Chinese supercomputer clocks in at 33.86 petaflops so you have to go really fast to break the record. The follow-up to Tianhe-1A, Tianhe-2 uses Ivy Bridge-based Intel Xeons and Intel Xeon Phi and can theoretically hit speeds of up to 54.9 petaflops. 

To be fair this is not the first time that the list has not been altered.

IBM's US-based Roadrunner, the first petaflop machine, won three straight titles from June 2008 to June 2009 before losing its crown. But his list is unusual in that the top nine machines are identical to those from six months ago. 

The bottom of the Top 500 is seeing less turnover and growth than usual.

The only new entry in the top 10 "was at number 10—a 3.14 petaflop/s Cray XC30 installed at an undisclosed US government site," the Top 500 project leaders wrote.

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