Tianhe-2 Features, Specs, Speed: Fastest Supercomputer in the World

Tags : computers, china
(Photo : REUTERS/Stephen Lam )

China's supercomputer, Tihane-2, snagged the number one spot for the world's most powerful system as the fastest supercomputer in existence.

Tianhe-2 is a government-run supercomputer, developed by the National University of Defense Technology, which topped the latest list of the fastest 500 computers. The project was sponsored by the Chinese government's "863 High Technology Program" in an effort to propel Chinese tech industries above their competitors. 

Tianhe-2, which means Milky Way-2, operates at 33.86 petaflop/sec, which is the equivalent to 33,860 trillion calculations per second. Meanwhile, an average high-performance computer approximates 54.9 petaflop/sec. The supercomputer additionally uses a 3.12 million processor cores, including Intel's Ivy Bridge and Xeon Phi chips to conduct the rapid calculations. 

According to the BBC, the machine also utilizes uniquely Chinese developments in technology, including a custom-built interconnection network, the inclusion of 4,000 Galaxy FT-1500 central processing units, and the use of the Kylin operating system, a high-security defense application.  

According to the list, the US has the world's second and third fastest computers. China held the top rank between November 2010 and June of 2011, and now accounts for 66 of the list's fastest computers. The US ranks with 252 supercomputer systems on the survey, while the UK has 29 and France has 23. 

Tianhe-2's performance doubles that of the number two spot of the list. China's victory was unexpected. Researchers told the BBC that the news was a "surprise" since the system had not been expected to be ready until 2015. 

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