China Is Starting to Spank the U.S. With Supercomputing Resources

Illustration for article titled China Is Starting to Spank the U.S. With Supercomputing Resources

When it comes to supercomputers, the U.S. used to rule the roost. But these days its status is slipping—while China is surging ahead.

How bad is the problem? This bad, according to the new Top500 list, which rounds up supercomputer performance around the world every six months:

China nearly tripled the number of systems on the latest list, while the number of systems in the United States has fallen to the lowest point since the TOP500 list was created in 1993. China is also carving out a bigger share as a manufacturer of high performance computers with multiple Chinese manufacturers becoming more active in this field.


The number of U.S. supercomputers in the top 500 has now dropped to just 200, down from 231 in July. Meanwhile, China now boasts 109 systems in the list, nearly three times the 37 it had in the top 500 just six months ago.

China also maintains its top spot on the list with Tianhe-2, which can perform a staggering 33.86 quadrillion calculations per second. Meanwhile, Titan, a Cray XK7 supercomputer installed atOak Ridge National Laboratory, keeps its second place. It can perform just 17.59 quadrillion calculations per second—half as many as China’s top dog.


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I’d hardly call 109 vs 200 a “spanking”; it’s more like an insistent jab in the side.

Sure, China’s catching up, VERY fast, but the US is still handily outclassing them, and they have quite a ways to go. I’d give it another year or three before this article’s title becomes anywhere near appropriate.