China has scored a win in the race to achieve mega computing power, by unveiling a new system that is twice as faster than anything else available right now.
Tianhe-2 was unveiled at the end of last month by the Chinese National University of Defense Technology. At an operating speed of 30.7 petaflops or quadrillion operations per second, it is definitely the world’s fastest supercomputer right now.
Also known as Milkyway-2, the supercomputer is more than likely to top the biannual Top 500 supercomputer list out this month. The first place in the ranking is currently held by U.S. system Titan, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. For comparison, Titan, owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, operates at just 17.6 petaflops per second.
China already topped the supercomputer ranking in 2010, but was beaten by Germany in 2011 and then the United States last year. A senior Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher and Tennessee University professor, Jack Dongarra, was able to see Tianhe-2 in operation and confirmed the statistics revealed.
What’s interesting is that the Chinese system operated at 30.7 petaflops per second in a Linpak test of only 90 percent of its capacity, so it is likely to score more when it runs 100%. Dongarra said in a report that the system’s theoretical performance is estimated at 54.9 petaflops.
The world’s fastest supercomputer is equipped with 2 different kinds of Intel computer chips and locally-developed circuitry. It reportedly has 12.4 petabytes (1 petabyte equals 1,000 terabytes) of storage and 1.4 petabyte memory.
Its operating system, Kylin Linux, was especially developed by the National University for Defense Technology. The machine is housed in a large room and is equipped with 48,000 Xeon Phi boards and 32,000 Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon sockets, Dongarra said.
Tianhe-2 will be moved to the China’s National Supercomputer Center to provide a high-performance, open computing services for the southwest of the country. Among possible uses for the system is running simulations for airplane testing, aiding government security and processing what was described as “big data.”
[Image via datacenterjournal]