China Has Almost Half of The World’s Supercomputers, Explores RISC-V and ARM

Slashddot reader dcblogs quote Tech Target:
Ten years ago, China had 21 systems on the Top500 list of the world’s largest supercomputing systems. It now has 219, according to the biannual listing, which was updated just this week. At its current pace of development, China may have half of the supercomputing systems on the Top500 list by 2021…. U.S. supercomputers make up 116 of the latest Top500 list.

Despite being well behind China in total system count, the U.S. leads in overall performance, as measured by the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark. The HPL benchmark is used to solve linear equations. The U.S. has about 38% of the aggregate Top500 list performance. China is in second, at nearly 30% of the performance total. But this performance metric has flip-flopped between China and the U.S., because it’s heavily weighted by the largest systems. The U.S. owns the top two spots on the latest Top500 list, thanks to two IBM supercomputers at U.S. national laboratories. These systems, Summit and Sierra, alone, represent 15.6% of the HPL performance measure.

Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, says China is concerned the U.S. may limit its x86 chip imports, and while China may look to ARM, they’re also investigating the RISC-V processor architecture.

Paresh Kharya, director of product marketing at Nvidia, tells Tech Target “We expect x86 CPUs to remain dominant in the short term. But there’s growing interest in ARM for supercomputing, as evidenced by projects in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Supercomputing centers want choice in CPU architecture.”

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