The Top500 organization has released its biannual list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. This time, China’s new Tianhe-2 supercomputer has replaced Cray’s Titan supercomputer as the fastest in the world.
The machine was built by the National University of Defense Technology, and will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, two years ahead of schedule.
The Tianhe-2 runs entirely on Intel processors. The monolithic processing engine contains 16,000 nodes, each containing two Xeon IvyBridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors. All in all, the computer contains a total of 3,120,000 processor cores.
This sort of brain-staggering power amounts to a performance of 33.86 petaflops, which is almost twice as fast as the Titan in Oak Ridge, which clocked in at 17.59 petaflops.
But every machine must ultimately be tested by one inevitable question – and it is probably safe to assume that, yes, China’s new supercomputer could probably run Crysis. Thousands of times, at once.
Technically speaking, actually, that question doesn’t make sense, since the architecture of the Tianhe-2 is different than that of a regular PC, and is more focused on mathematics. But in terms of raw computing power, the Tianhe-2 is as powerful as millions of regular consumer PCs combined.
That divergence aside, the world’s new fastest supercomputer is a testament to the changing IT industry in China. Besides the Intel processors, everything else in the supercomputer was developed in the country. And that is quite a feat.