Japan gains lead in TOP500 supercomputer list with ‘Fugaku’

Japan took the top spot in the 55th edition of the TOP500 list of supercomputers, along with other “significant additions” to the latest of the twice-yearly roster.

Started in 1993, the TOP500 list is compiled by Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and Martin Meuer of ISC Group, Germany.

According to the authors, the latest rankings also reflect a steady growth in aggregate performance and power efficiency.

The new top system, Fugaku, turned in a High Performance Linpack (HPL) result of 415.5 petaflops, besting the now second-place Summit system by a factor of 2.8 times. It is installed at RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS) in Kobe, Japan.

Fugaku, is powered by Fujitsu’s 48-core A64FX SoC, becoming the first No. 1 system on the list to be powered by ARM processors. In single or further reduced precision, which are often used in machine learning and AI applications, Fugaku’s peak performance is over 1,000 petaflops (1 exaflops).

The Summit is an IBM-built supercomputer that delivers 148.8 petaflops on HPL, running at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee and remains the fastest supercomputer in the United States.

Summit has 4,356 nodes, each equipped with two 22-core Power9 CPUs, and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs.

At number three is Sierra, a system at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieving 94.6 petaflops on HPL. Its architecture is very similar to that of Summit.

Completing the top 10 is Sunway TaihuLight developed by China’s National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology; Tianhe-2A (Milky Way-2A) of China’s National University of Defense Technology; HPC5, built by Dell and installed by the Italian energy firm Eni; Selene, installed at NVIDIA in the US; Frontera, at the Texas Advanced Computing Center; Marconi-100, at the CINECA research center in Italy; and Piz Daint, at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre in Lugano, Switzerland.

China continues to dominate the TOP500 in terms of system count, with 226 supercomputers on the list. The US is number two with 114 systems; Japan is third with 30.

On the other hand, the US continues to edge out China in aggregate list performance with 644 petaflops to China’s 565 petaflops. Japan, with its significantly smaller system count, delivers 530 petaflops.