China’s supercomputers race past US to world dominance

China’s supercomputers race past US to world dominance, by Stephen Shankland.

For years, China has claimed the top spot on a list of the 500 fastest supercomputers. Now it dominates the overall list, too, pushing the United States into second place.

For the first time, China has the most systems on the Top500 list, 202, up from 159 six months ago. The US dropped from 169 to 144. And in terms of the total performance of those machines, China also overtook the US, the Top500 supercomputer list organizers said.

The news underscores the relentless ascent of China’s supercomputing trajectory in recent years. It also marks a notable shift in the international balance of high-end computing power that’s closely tied to industrial, academic and military abilities.

Supercomputers, mammoth machines that can occupy entire buildings and use thousands of processors, are useful for tasks like simulating nuclear weapons explosions, forecasting weather, designing aircraft and investigating the cosmos by reconstructing billions of year of the universe’s history. …

The top two machines both are in China. … They’ve held the top two spots for two years.