Chinese surpassed themselves again. According to the latest news, Chinese have dominated the global computing market owning the largest number of supercomputers in the world.
It is not the first time for China to score the number one. However, it is the first time for China to dominate the whole list with the largest number of systems which skyrocketed from 159 (June 2017) up to 202. It is quite a spectacular result. The US declined from 169 listed systems to 144. The most interesting fact about this swap? The performance – Chinese systems are not only topping the list, they also perform extremely well surpassing the US, claim the organizers.
This spectacular dominance shifts the international balance of the computing world as China’s development speeds up every single year and it is very visible that Chinese machines trace a very clear trajectory for the future wanting to dominate the computing world. This dominance can be also explained by Chinas aspirations to join the ranks of developed countries and are closely linked to China’s industrial, academic and military abilities.
What is TOP500?
Top500 is a chart following the latest computing trends and screening the increasing computing power in recent years. This chart shows the performance of all 500 machines as the orange points, the single fastest as the brown triangles and the 500th on the list as the yellow squares. The Top500 list, released twice a year in conjunction with the annual SC conference, is compiled by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and cloud-computing company Prometeus. It ranks supercomputers by how fast they can perform mathematical calculations on an imperfect but still useful speed test called Linpack. Results are measured in floating-point operations per second, or FLOPS. Today’s slowest machine has the performance of the fastest one in 2008.
What are supercomputers?
Supercomputers are often referred to as systems with enormous computing power, which exceed the number of times the computing power of home computers. What can they do for us? We can use them for example:
– to perform a variety of physical simulations,
– for cryptanalysis,
– to predict the occurrence of various events in the world based on the analysis of huge data resources analyzing what has already happened.
Simply speaking we can use them, for any task that involves huge datasets and performing huge amounts of calculations. When it comes to computing power it is, generally speaking, the ability to perform quick mathematical operations. It can be measured, for example, by checking how many floating point operations (the most common way to save fractions in a computer) are given by the machine in a unit of time, eg within a second. This makes it possible to compare the “speed” of several computers together.
Supercomputers, mammoth machines that can occupy entire buildings and use thousands of processors.
At the SC 17 supercomputing show starting Monday in Denver, NASA will show off supercomputing work into precise simulations of climate change on Earth, the aerodynamics of drones that fly using multiple propellers and detailed forecasts of shock-wave damage from meteors.
What are the fastest machines?
Well, both are coming from China. The first, Sunway TaihuLight from China’s National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, which performed at 93.01 petaflops, or 93 quadrillion calculations per second. The No. 2 machine, Tianhe-2 from the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou, scored 33.86 petaflops. They’ve held the top two spots for last two years. If the US wants to try to regain the N.1 they might have a chance with a brand new IBM-built machine called Summit at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is designed to reach about 200 petaflops, double the performance of Sunway TaihuLight. It’s in a 10,000-square-foot facility that’s got a 20-megawatt power system for running the machine and keeping it cool. That’s enough electricity to power about 16,300 houses.
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