June 2011

A Japanese supercomputer capable of performing more than 8 quadrillion calculations per second (petaflop/s) is the new number one system in the world, putting Japan back in the top spot for the first time since the Earth Simulator was dethroned in November 2004, according to the latest edition of the TOP500 List of the world’s top supercomputers. The system, called the K Computer, is at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe.

The 37th edition of the closely watched list was released Monday, June 20, at the 2011 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg. The ranking of all systems is based on how fast they run Linpack, a benchmark application developed to solve a dense system of linear equations.

For the first time, all of the top 10 systems achieved petaflop/s performance – and those are also the only petaflop/s systems on the list. The U.S. is tops in petaflop/s with five systems performing at that level; Japan and China have two each, and France has one.

Bumped to second place after capturing No. 1 on the previous list is the Tianhe-1A supercomputer the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, with a performance at 2.6 petaflop/s. Also moving down a notch was Jaguar, a Cray supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, at No. 3 with 1.75 petaflop/s.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Nebulae at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Shenzen (1.27 petaflop/s), Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (1.19 petaflop/s), Cielo at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (1.11 petaflop/s), Pleiades at the NASA Ames Research Center in California (1.09 petaflop/s), Hopper at DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in California (1.054 petaflop/s), Tera 100 at the CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) in France (1.05 petaflop/s), and Roadrunner at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (1.04 petaflop/s). 

The New Number One

The K Computer, built by Fujitsu, currently combines 68544 SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs, each with eight cores, for a total of 548,352 cores—almost twice as many as any other system in the TOP500. The K Computer is also more powerful than the next five systems on the list combined.

The K Computer’s name draws upon the Japanese word "Kei" for 10^16 (ten quadrillions), representing the system's performance goal of 10 petaflops. RIKEN is the Institute for Physical and Chemical Research. Unlike the Chinese system it displaced from the No. 1 slot and other recent very large system, the K Computer does not use graphics processors or other accelerators. The K Computer is also one of the most energy-efficient systems on the list.


TOP 10 Sites for June 2011

For more information about the sites and systems in the list, click on the links or view the complete list.

Rank System Cores Rmax (TFlop/s) Rpeak (TFlop/s) Power (kW)
1 K computer, SPARC64 VIIIfx 2.0GHz, Tofu interconnect , Fujitsu
RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS)
548,352 8,162.0 8,773.6 9,899
2 Tianhe-1A - NUDT TH MPP, X5670 2.93Ghz 6C, NVIDIA GPU, FT-1000 8C , NUDT
National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin
186,368 2,566.0 4,701.0 4,040
3 Jaguar - Cray XT5-HE Opteron 6-core 2.6 GHz , Cray Inc.
DOE/SC/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
United States
224,162 1,759.0 2,331.0 6,950
4 Nebulae - Dawning TC3600 Blade, Intel X5650, NVidia Tesla C2050 GPU , Sugon
National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen (NSCS)
120,640 1,271.0 2,984.3 2,580
5 TSUBAME 2.0 - HP ProLiant SL390s G7 Xeon 6C X5670, Nvidia GPU, Linux/Windows , NEC/HPE
GSIC Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology
73,278 1,192.0 2,287.6 1,399
6 Cielo - Cray XE6 8-core 2.4 GHz , Cray Inc.
United States
142,272 1,110.0 1,365.8 3,980
7 Pleiades - SGI Altix ICE 8200EX/8400EX, Xeon HT QC 3.0/Xeon 5570/5670 2.93 Ghz, Infiniband , HPE
NASA/Ames Research Center/NAS
United States
111,104 1,088.0 1,315.3 4,102
8 Hopper - Cray XE6 12-core 2.1 GHz , Cray Inc.
United States
153,408 1,054.0 1,288.6 2,910
9 Tera-100 - Bull bullx super-node S6010/S6030 , Bull, Atos Group
Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA)
138,368 1,050.0 1,254.5 4,590
10 Roadrunner - BladeCenter QS22/LS21 Cluster, PowerXCell 8i 3.2 Ghz / Opteron DC 1.8 GHz, Voltaire Infiniband , IBM
United States
122,400 1,042.0 1,375.8 2,345