An upgrade to a Swiss supercomputer means that it has leapfrogged the U.S. into third place globally.
(CCM) — The U.S. has dropped out of a top spot in the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers, thanks to an upgrade to a Swiss number-crunching machine.
The world's two most powerful supercomputers are both in China: the Sunway TaihuLight in Wuxi works at 93 petaflops (or one thousand trillion operations per second), while the Milky Way-2 computer in Guangzho offers 33.9 petaflops. The Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee has been relegated to fourth spot and surpassed by the Pix Daint computer at the Swiss National Computing Center, thanks to the hardware upgrade which involved installing additional Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs. This doubled the Swiss machine's computing power from 9.8 petaflops to 19.6 petaflops.
The Titan, by comparison, works at a maximum of 17.6 petaflops, but the Oak Ridge Laboratory should leapfrog both the Swiss and the Chinese Milky Way-2 supercomputers next year when a new 43 petaflop supercomputer dubbed "Summit" is switched on.
Of the remaining six computers in the top ten positions, four are in the U.S. and two are in Japan.
Supercomputers are used to run complicated mathematical simulations to produce weather forecasts and are also used in the fields of physics and computational science.
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