The new TOP500 viewed from different angles by Erich Strohmaier at the ISC 2020 Digital opening session


23 Jun 2020 Almere - In his analysis of the new TOP500 edition, Erich Strohmaier who will be retiring from Lawrence Berkeley Lab, stated that the new number one system, the Fugaku machine at RIKEN, is the 6th Japanese system that made it to the number 1 rank in the TOP500. The machine has been built and made in Japan.

There are three more new systems in the Top 10. The HPC5 at Eni, built by DellEMC, is the first European system on the list at rank 6. Selene, hosted at NVIDIA, ranked at position 7, is a system dedicated to machine learning. At rank 9, we find the Marconi-100, based at CINECA in Italy. In total, there are four new systems in the Top 10.

In the HPCG list, Fugaku claims the number 1 position and Eni's HPC5 is at number 4. Three machines, hosted in the United States, make the HPCG Top 5 complete: Summit at rank 2, Sierra at rank 3, and Trinity at rank 5.

In the Green500 list, the Japanese system MN-3 is heading the list. NVIDIA's Selene is at rank 2; the NA-1 ZettaScaler at rank 3; the A64FX prototype at rank 4; AIMOS at rank 5; Eni's HPC5 at rank 6; Satori at rank 7; Summit at rank 8; Fugaku at rank 9; and the Marconi-100 at rank 10. These are all systems with accelerated GPUs except for the Fugaku and A64FX.

Erich Strohmaier explained that the HPC community likes to innovate from the top. If we look at the performance development, we see that 422 MFlop/s were reached in 1994 versus 1,23 PFlop/s in 2020. There are inflection points in June 2008 and in June 2013.

Furthermore, there is not as much turnover as in the past. The replacement rate shows that 51 systems have fallen off the list. This is the lowest replacement rate since the project started. There is a reduced turnover because people upgrade less frequently, according to Erich Strohmaier. The chip performance is also lower than it used to be. COVID-19 has delayed or cancelled installations.

There is an increase of performance at the top with a performance fraction of the Top 5 systems.

Considering the distribution of TOP500 supercomputers across the countries, we see that China is in first place with most of the systems represented in the list, followed by the United States, Europe and Japan. The United States are still ahead of China in terms of installed performance. Japan is catching up with China. The majority of systems is built by Chinese companies.

Vendor-wise, Lenovo takes the number one spot, followed by Sugon and HPE. In performance share, Lenovo however is no longer no. 1 but is being replaced by Fujitsu.

The markets for scientific computing and for commercial data procssing are very different, Erich Strohmaier showed. He extracted proper sub-samples for these markets from the full TOP500 list by making a Top100 for Research and Academic installations and a Top100 for Industry installations.

The Research market is dominated by the United States while in the commercial market China clearly dominates as a consumer. Japan made a big jump for research installations in performance share.

If we look at the vendors per system share, for research HPE/Cray is in first place. In the commercial market, Lenovo is in first place, followed by Inspur. For chips per system share, Intel is dominating in research as well as in the commercial market. For chips in performance share, about one third of the systems is not using accelerators.

Erich Strohmaier concluded that Fugaku is the new number one system in the 55th edition of the TOP500. It measured at over 1 Exaflop on the HPL-AI benchmark in reduced precision. The Top 10 has four new systems. The overall turnover is at a record low. The Top 100 research systems and commercial systems show very different markets.

Leslie Versweyveld