The world’s most powerful supercomputer has just fired up. A newcomer named Fugaku has nabbed the number one spot in the Top500 list of supercomputers, surpassing Summit, the reigning champion of the past few years.
Fugaku is installed in the RIKEN Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan, and only just began some operations this month. The Top500 list primarily ranks systems based on a metric called High Performance Linpack (HPL), and Fugaku boasts a HPL of 415.5 petaflops. That makes it 2.8 times more powerful than runner-up Summit, on 148.8 petaflops.
And in single or further reduced precision, Fugaku’s peak performance tops 1,000 petaflops. That pushes it into the exaflop range, which looks to be where the next generation battles will be waged.
By an alternative metric called the High-Performance Conjugate Gradient (HPCG), Fugaku also comes out on top. It runs at 13.4 HPCG-petaflops, marking a huge leap over Summit on 2.93 HPCG-petaflops.
Fugaku is running 158,976 individual CPUs, based on Fujitsu’s 48-core A64FX system-on-a-chip. This makes it the first number-one supercomputer to be running on processors with the ARM architecture.
It dethrones Summit, installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA, which was the top dog for 2018 and 2019. Sierra, also in the US, drops down to slot three with a HPL of 94.6 petaflops. China rounds out the top five, with Sunway TaihuLight at 93 petaflops, and Tianhe-2A at 61.4 petaflops.
But Fugaku probably won’t hold onto the crown for very long. Next year the exascale revolution begins in earnest, with Intel and the US Department of Energy launching Aurora, while Cray and AMD launch Frontier. Aurora will pack 1 exaflop of processing power, while Frontier leapfrogs it to 1.5 exaflops. Although Fugaku can technically reach 1 exaflop, it’s only during a particular type of operation – Aurora and Frontier will do it natively.
Fugaku is set to begin its full operations in 2021.
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