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There’s a brand new world supercomputing champion. And yes, it’s in China.

China also boasts the largest number of supercomputers on the latest top 500 list

Via Top500 List

A new world champion in the realm of supercomputing has unseated the juggernaut that has held it since 2013.

Sunway TaihuLight is three times more powerful than the previous champ, Tianhe-2, according to the latest edition of the twice-a-year list of the world’s top 500 supercomputers put out by researchers in the U.S. and Germany.

The new machine can perform more than 93 petaflops per second, besting Tianhe-2, which maxed out at about 34 petaflops. A flop is short for a “floating point operation,” a type of math problem, and the prefix “peta” refers to a quadrillion of them. The system is running at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, about two hours west of Shanghai.

Sunway TaihuLight’s other claim to fame: Its chips are also made in China. Its primary computing engine is a chip called ShenWei that boasts 16 cores and can produce 140 gigaflops per second (or billions of flops). Tianhe-2 was built primarily using chips made by Intel, the U.S.-based semiconductor giant. The U.S. government has imposed an embargo on the sale of high-end processors like high-end versions of Intel’s Xeon chips to China’s supercomputing organizations, arguing that they might be used in nuclear weapons research.

The most powerful system in the U.S., and the third most-powerful system in the world, is Titan, a machine built by the supercomputing company Cray that is running at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It’s capable of nearly 18 petaflops per second. It topped the list back in 2012.

Overall, the U.S. still dominated the top 10 positions on the list, with four. American-made chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices were used in more than 93 percent of the the systems on the list. And U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard Enterprise built 127 of them.

The top 500 list has been compiled twice a year since 1993 by a team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and ISC Group, a research firm in Germany.

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