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The new leader of the twice-yearly list of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers is the Tianhe-2, with 31 petaflops of sustained LINPACK capacity using 3.1 million processor cores and a lot of Chinese-build technology.

The new Chinese supercomputer arrived two years earlier than expected to easily claim the top spot in a list of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world. Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, by the end of the year.

The International Supercomputing Conference is happening this week in Leipzig Germany. The performance of the systems on the Top500 list continues to improve exponentially.

Tianhe-2 marks China’s return to the No. 1 position. In November 2010, Tianhe-1A was judged the top system. Tianhe-2 has 16,000 nodes, each with two Intel Xeon IvyBridge processors and three Xeon Phi processors for a combined total of 3,120,000 computing cores.

Its performance is nearly double that of the machine now bumped to second place, the Cray XK7 system called Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory , with a speed of 17.59 petaflops. Third place went to Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with a speed of 17.17 petaflops.

HPC Wire, Inside HPC, and Data Center Knowledge have more.

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