TOP500 list has new top system but otherwise it is business as usual

20 Jun 2016 Frankfurt - During the opening session of the International Supercomputing Conference - ISC 2016 - in Frankfurt, Germany, Erich Strohmaier from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presented the traditional overview of the highlights from the TOP500 list, already the 47th edition of this world's most powerful supercomputers' ranking. The June 2016 edition of the TOP500 has a new nr. 1: the Sunway TaihuLight. Erich Strohmaier said that this Chinese-built machine is quite impressive with over 10 million of cores. The Sunway TaihuLight has almost three times the performance of the nr. 2 in the list, the Tianhe-2 or Milky Way 2, also based in China.

The Sunway TaihuLight is not only based in China but consists of Chinese technology. It has a theoretical peak of 125,4 Pflop/s. The processor type is SW26010. Each node consists of 260 cores. The machine operates at 1.45 GHz and has 32 GB of memory. It consists of 4-core groups. There are 40,960 nodes in the system with 10,649,600 cores in total. It has 1.31 PB of primary memory with 93 Pflop/s HPL and a 74% peak and 15.3 MWatts.

As far as the Top10 is concerned, there are no other changes in comparison with the 46th edition of the list. Erich Strohmaier told the audience that 149 systems have fallen of the list. Six systems were replaced by newer versions and 155 systems are new in the list. Half of the new systems in the list were installed in China.

The average system age is now 1.27 years. According to Erich Strohmaier, this evolution is starting to rectify a little bit but still not very much.

In geographical terms the current distribution of systems over the world shows that China represents 33% of the list, as well as the United States, although China has two more systems than the USA in the list. Japan has a part of 6%, Germany 5% and France 4%.

Looking at the distribution over 23 years, the USA represents 52%, Japan 10%, Germany 8%, UK 6%, and China 5%. Over time, China has become prevalent over the USA.

In terms of performance of the different countries, China prevales over the USA because of the new nr. 1 system. The nr. 1 and nr. 2 represent a quarter of the whole TOP500 list in terms of performance.

Erich Strohmaier told the audience that a vast majority of the systems used to be built in the USA. Now, China is jumping up. Inspur and Sugon provide the systems for China in the TOP500 list.

Looking at the vendors/system share, HPE takes the lead with 25% or 127 systems, followed by Lenovo with 17% or 84 systems, Cray with 12% or 60 systems, and Sugon with 10% or 51 systems.

Erich Strohmaier said that HPE and Lenovo shrink a little bit in terms of vendors/performance share. The performance development shows an amount of 567 PFlop/s for the whole of the TOP500 list. He observed two inflection points, namely in June 2008 and in June 2013. The market really has changed.

The projected performance development for the nr. 1 will show a steep climb but there is a technological or financial reason for the decline in performance otherwise.

Erich Strohmaier also talked about the merge between the TOP500 and the Green500. Both projects worked for several years to unify measurement metholdology and reporting approaches via the EEHPC-WG, the Energy-Efficient HPC Working Group. Ultimately, this led to combine data collection and curation in one site and system. Both lists will continue to be published at the same time, namely at ISC and at SC. The team is working on integrating past data-sets and sites. Both sites will be hosted and maintained by the ISC Group.

The most energy-efficient architectures are the Shoubu, ZettaScaler-1.6; the Satsuki, ZettaScaler-1.6; the Sunway TaihuLight, NRCPC; the Phoenix, Lenovo NeXtScale nx360 nx360M5; the DLSystem, Sugon W580-G20, and the IMGSystem / PLearningSystem, a Sugon Cluster. All of the systems have accelerators in them for a couple of years, Erich Strohmaier said.

In energy-efficiency, the largest growth over time is in the nr. 1 systems: from Cell to BlueGene/Q to Mic to AMD Pro etc.

Erich Strohmaier concluded by saying that Jack Dongarra has written a report about the new nr. 1 system.

Leslie Versweyveld