China overtakes the U.S. in race for supercomputer dominance

Illustration of supercomputing machines as a bar graph

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"It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the Top500 ranking", the survey said on Monday, "with the USA presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list's inception".

Only a few months ago, the United States had 169 systems within the Top 500 compared to China's 160.

"It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the TOP500 ranking, with the US presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list's inception 25 years ago", Top500 said.

China has officially overtaken the USA as the country with the largest number of supercomputers to grace the TOP500 list, according to a recent article on TOP500's website.

What's interesting, the report noted, is that these rankings weren't the case a mere six months ago.

The People's Daily, China's government-controlled media outlet, reports that China has become the world's leading producer of supercomputers. In aggregate performance, China had 35.4% of the total flops represented on the TOP500.

Until six months ago, the USA led with 169 systems to China's 160; the number of listings by US has now dropped to 143, putting it in second place.

In addition to claiming a larger number of supercomputers, China also bested the U.S. in performance. The US had 29.6%.

According to a biannual ranking of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers, called the Top500 published earlier this week, China's Sunway TaihuLight maintains the lead as the No. 1 system for the fourth time, with a performance of 93.01 petaflops.

China's Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, is still the No. 2 system at 33.86 petaflops.

Supercomputers have a much higher processing capacity compared to a general-use computer, and a much higher speed of calculation.

That's more than twice as fast as the world's second fastest supercomputer - which is also developed by the Chinese. The system fell from fourth to fifth place in the new rankings with a performance of 17.59 petaflops. Additionally, HPE represents almost a quarter of the systems on the TOP500 list, the report said.

China has not only overtaken the USA in sheer numbers, but also in aggregate performance.

Despite the role reversal of China and the U.S. in the recent TOP500 ranking, the two countries continue to dominate the list with little to no close competitors.

Despite the switching roles, the United States and China remain the dominant forces in supercomputing worldwide.

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