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June 17, 2013

Supercomputers 55 petaflops now, 100+ petaflops in 2014 or 2015 and exaflops in 2016-2018

Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, is the world’s new No. 1 system with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, according to the 41st edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The list was announced June 17 during the opening session of the 2013 International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany.

Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, by the end of the year. The surprise appearance of Tianhe-2, two years ahead of the expected deployment, marks China’s first return to the No. 1 position since November 2010, when Tianhe-1A was the top system.

Originally there was talk that Tianhe-2 would be a 100 petaflop supercomputer built for 2015. There is still the possibility that the Tianhe-2 could get GPU upgrades next year or get new chips in 2015 or that a Tianhe-3 with upgraded components could be built in 2015 to achieve a 100+ petaflop supercomputer.

In June 2011, the fastest supercomputer was the Japan’s “K” supercomputer (at 8 petaflops but now upgraded to 10.5 petaflops).
In June 2012, the fastest supercomputer was IBM's Sequoia (it now runs at 17 petaflops.
Tianhe 2 has a peak of about 55 petaflops and a sustained of 33.8 petaflops.

An exaflop supercomputer seems to be on track for 2016-2018.



In terms of future supercomputers, China seems able to commit larger budgets to buying more and bigger supercomputers. The United States, Europe and Japan seem to facing declining supercomputer budgets.

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