The US now has 150 of the TOP500 supercomputers in the world

China has slipped to number two, but is that intentional?
Ameya Paleja
Supercomputers help nations make technological advancements
Supercomputers help nations make technological advancements


The US has edged past China when it comes to being home to the world's fastest supercomputers. The number of machines in the U.S. is now 150, up from 126 last year, while the number of supercomputers from China fell from 162 to 134, Techspot reported.

Supercomputers are capable of crunching large numbers for advanced scientific applications and have become synonymous with a nation's pursuit of technological progress.

The Top500 ranking of supercomputers provides a metric for the measurement of how computing prowess is evolving in nations around the world.

TOP500 Supercomputers 2023

The 61st edition of the TOP500 list recently arrived and the US seems to have made quite some progress by lifting itself up from second place to the top spot, in terms of the absolute number of computers.

The record for the fastest supercomputer in the world is still held by the Frontier system at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which also happens to be the world's first exaflop computer in the world.

While computing prowess is measured in million instructions per second (MIPS) for conventional systems, for supercomputers it is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS).

The Frontier system is capable of performing 1018 operations per second, while the performance of other supercomputers is still measured in petaflops or 1015 instructions per second.

Between last year and this, the Frontier has further extended its lead by boosting its performance by 16 percent and now peaks at 1.194 exaflops. The system boasts a whopping 8,699,904 cores.

Interestingly, the supercomputer still ranks second on the High-Performance Conjugate Gradient (HPCG) benchmark, where it scores 14.05. much behind the HPCG score of 16.0 of the Japanese Fugaku system it displaced to take the top spot last year.

Along with the U.S. increasing its total tally of supercomputers in the list, chip maker AMD has also increased its share by 29 percent from last year. Four of the top 10 machines are powered by AMD, while two are powered by Intel. The other two are powered by IBM.

Intel still dominates the list, but AMD's chips now power 121 of the TOP500 supercomputers around the world.

Conspicuous by its absence are supercomputers from China in this year's list. The Asian superpower added only one supercomputer to the list this year, having lost multiple spots. One might presume that US sanctions on supplying high-end chips from NVIDIA and AMD might be setting China behind.

However, China has previously demonstrated the use of locally-made chips in the Sunway Oceanlite and Tianhe-3 systems, which have been included in TOP500.

So it is more likely that China is holding back on announcing its progress in chip architectures by not including them in such lists.

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