50th TOP500 Supercomputer List Released, China and Linux Are Big Winners

Judy| 2017-11-15 News Comments( 0 )

For the first time, China pulls ahead of U.S. in the fiftieth TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world by a margin of 202 to 143. At the same time, Linux is found completely dominating the supercomputers—all the top 500 world’s fastest supercomputers are running Linux operating system!

There is no new supercomputer member appearing on this TOP500 Supercomputer list, China’s Sunway TaihuLight still remains the number one ranking for the fourth time, followed by Tianhe-2 (Milkyway-2)—another supercomputer from China that is developed by the National University of Defense Technology.

Just six months ago, China came in at 160 systems, falling behind US’ 169. Despite the reversal of total numbers, US firmly occupies the second place with 143 systems, quadrupling Japan’s 35 in third place.

Overall, China’s solid performance in supercomputer realm reflects the development of economy as well as enhancement of innovation capacity. No wonder why President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of the innovation capability of the manufacturing industry during 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. As with the internet industry keeping constant robust demand for computing, China eventually surpasses America in supercomputer field. Contrarily, as a result of an anti-science regime in charge of the government, the United States will probably witness a continued decline in science and technology.

Speaking of operating system configured with the supercomputers, Linux surprisingly makes a clean sweep. Dating back to twenty-four years ago, when the first TOP500 supercomputer list was initially compiled, Linux was only an unglamorous option. Linux started its way to the top along with the instant success of Beowulf supercomputer, which made a breakthrough in using cluster designs in 1993/1994. Since 2003, Linux has taken the place of Unix to dominate the TOP500 supercomputer list.  

The driving force behind Linux’s domination over the supercomputing is the high-performance computing capability. Corporations that need handle several mission critical tasks usually deploy supercomputers for computation intensive tasks. Supercomputers running on Linux have proven to come with extreme scalability, reliability, flexibility and ease of use, making it the optimal operating system for customers’ businesses.

Another highlight of Linux operating system is the Linux Community’s years of efforts in helping push limits on computing power for researchers. Since most of the fastest supercomputers in the world are research machines built for certain tasks, each machine is built with unique characteristics and requires different optimization configurations. In order to save costs, researchers prefer to modify and optimize a unified code to their one-off designs. 

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