China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer, twice as fast as DoE’s Titan, shocks the world by arriving two years early

Techie Blog

In a massive escalation of the supercomputing arms race, China has built Tianhe-2, a supercomputer capable of 33.86 petaflops — almost twice as fast as the US Department of Energy’s Titan, and topping the official Top 500 list of supercomputers by some margin. The US isn’t scheduled to build another large supercomputer until 2015, suggesting China will hold pole position for a long time to come. The computer has 32,000 Ivy Bridge Xeon CPUs and 48,000 Xeon Phi accelerator boards for a total of 3,120,000 compute cores, which are decked out with 1.4 petabytes of RAM. And of course the operating system is Linux.

The construction of Tianhe-2 (literally Milky Way-2) comes as a huge surprise, as it was originally scheduled for deployment in 2015. No one knows why China proceeded so quickly, but it’s fairly safe to assume that it’s a reaction to the DoE’s completion of…

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