In the Hopper
The fifth most-powerful super in the world based on the Linpack tests (at least the ones we know about) is a brand new box called Hopper. Installed at the US DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing center, Hopper is a Cray XE6 super using that new Gemini interconnect and twelve-core Opteron 6100 processors - no fancy schmancy GPU co-processors. (Well, at least not yet, anyway.) Hopper has 153,408 cores spinning at 2.1 GHz and delivers 1.05 petaflops of sustained performance with an efficiency of 82 per cent.
If it is not yet obvious, there is a bottleneck in getting parallel supercomputer nodes to talk through their networking stacks running on their x64 processors and out over the PCI-Express 2.0 bus. If Nvidia or AMD want to do something useful, embedding a baby x64 processor inside of a GPU co-processor along with a switchable 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 40 Gb/sec InfiniBand port would make a very interesting baby server node. Throw in cache coherence between the x64 and GPU processors and maybe getting to 50 petaflops won't seem like such a big deal.
The Bull Tera-100 super at the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique in France, is based on Intel's Xeon 7500 high-end processors and Bull's bullx supercomputer blades and ranks sixth in the world. The machine uses QDR InfiniBand to lash the nodes together, and is rated at 1.05 petaflops. This machine does not have GPUs in it from either AMD or Nvidia, and neither does number eight, the Kraken XT5 super from Cray that is owned by the University of Tennessee and which is operated by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Kraken delivers 831.7 teraflops of sustained Linpack performance, unchanged from when it came onto the list a year ago.
Number seven on the list, the Roadrunner Opteron blade system at Los Alamos National Laboratory (another DOE site) does use accelerators, but they are IBM's now defunct Cell co-processors, which are based on IBM's Power cores and which have eight vector math units per chip. While the Roadrunner machine demonstrated the viability of co-processors to push up to the petaflops. But Roadrunner is stalled at 1.04 petaflops, is probably not going to be upgraded, and is therefore uninteresting even if it will do lots of good work for the DOE. (If you consider designing nuclear weapons good work, of course.)
Number nine on the list is the BlueGene/P super, named Jugene, built by IBM for the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany, which debuted at number three at 825.5 teraflops on the June 2009 list and hasn't changed since then. Rounding out the top ten on the Top 500 list is the Cielo Cray XE6 at Los Alamos, a new box that is rated at 816.6 teraflops of sustained Linpack performance.
Next page: GPU is my co-pilot
Missing clock cycles? I think not.
"While 47 per cent of the floating-point oomph in Tianhe-1A disappears into the void where all missed clock cycles go".
Ha! Those are the Ministry of Internal Security processors, keeping watch over the rest of them.
Elder Brother CP-GP.
The Soviet Union
..had the fastest Jet, the largest submarine, the biggest missile cruiser, the largest Phased Array Radar etc.
On paper all looked very impressive and some of the technology is indeed impressive. But what many laypersons don't realize is that *actual* performance is vastly different from a single performance number.
"Actual Performance" might be defined as "ability to penetrate airspace unharmed and fly back". If that would be the proper definition, the Luftwaffe F4 Phantoms were superior to the Mig25, because they had a system to automatically hack into the Soviet AF airspace control system and spoof their identity. To the soviet controllers it looked like a Mig21 or a Mig23 when it really was a West German Luftwaffe F4. A rogue Luftwaffe pilot and his WSO tried the system and got to Dresden (deep in the east) and back unharmed.
So this computer might have great benchmark numbers, but is it *actually useful* compared to more traditional systems ? I guess it is a one-trick pony useful for dick-length contests and not much more.
Also, a great programmer/engineer/scientist with a normal PC will normally achieve much more than a bunch of retards fumbling with a supercomputer in terms of *useful results*. China didn't impress on the science front so far. Let's see whether this will change.
No mention of Weta?
Weta in New Zealand has more flops than many countries.
Dreamworks and Pixar are likely of similar flop-age