Monday, June 19th 2017

U.S.A. Loses 3rd Place in TOP500 Supercomputer Standings... To Switzerland?

The United States has been being pushed down in the TOP500 standings for some time courtesy China, whom has taken the 1st and 2nd place seats from the US with their Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2 Supercomputers (at a Linpack performance of 93 and 33.9 Petaflops, respectively). It seemed though the crown was stolen from America, 3rd place was relatively safe for the former champs. Not so. America has been pushed right off the podium in the latest TOP500 refresh... not by China though, but Switzerland?
No, it wasn't my first guess either. Aparently the land of high mountains and hidden inaccessible bank accounts (if you subscribe to stereotypes, anyways) has taken 3rd place with an upgrade to its "Piz Daint" Cray XC50-based Supercomputer which now ranks at 19.6 Petaflops, pushing the United State's Department Of Energy's "Titan" system down to a measly 4th place, at 17.6 Petaflops. It is worth noting that this is the same rate at which the Titan ran at when it was installed in 2012, meaning the system has never been upgraded in a way that would net it more performance.

The upgrade to Piz Daint (which enabled it to leapfrog 5 entries to the number 3 position, by the way) came in the form of a GPU-package from NVIDIA. Piz Daint had its Tesla K20X GPU's swapped for a new set of Tesla P100's, making it not only the #3 supercomputer in the world, but the fastest GPU-based supercomputer in the entire world.

So yes, while the swiss have drawn blood, America is far from underrepresented in the TOP500. To the red-white-and-blue's credit, the U.S.A. supplies the vast majority of hardware powering the systems in the TOP500 listings. Intel based solutions power 464 out of the TOP500's well, 500. IBM's POWER based systems power an additional 21 Systems, and AMD has its Opteron line present in 6 systems. That means the US stills supplies the actual parts to build 491/500 of the supercomputer solutions in the TOP500. If you want to talk about the raw power available across all those systems, I think it's safe to say they clobber China quite readily at least in manufactured muscle, to their credit.

Still, it is clear that not all is well in the US of A's standings. This is the first time they have not secured one of the top 3 places in the TOP500 since a small blip in 1996 where Japan briefly stole all three seats (and briefly, mind you).

Something will likely need to change if the USA wants to maintain its dominance long-term. Source: TOP500.org
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27 Comments on U.S.A. Loses 3rd Place in TOP500 Supercomputer Standings... To Switzerland?

#1
Steevo
Wonder what NSA has hidden that they don't want to talk about? Real time monitoring of phone calls, messaging, and internet....
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#3
xkm1948
Not gonna happen with the current administration's war on science and research. Cutting federal funding for EPA, NIH and NSF. Basically they want no scientific research to be done. Many public research Universities are already struggling with paying for maintenance of current HPC. I still have subscription to my institution's HPC. However with more and more cut in scientific funding, I better start build something that can do all the computations in lab.
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#4
Steevo
They are too busy playing spy games and trying to blame Russia on the left to care about anything other than proving everything is the fault of colonized white male straight people. The right is too busy worrying about profits and taking care of their campaign funders, donors, and where they will consult for millions after politics to care.

Welcome to Dumpster Fire Earth 2017
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#5
xkm1948
To be honest. Things have been getting worse for public funded scientific research during Obama's 2nd term. The administrative positions got bloated up super fast, while most labs have been starved to death.

What the previous administration did was trying to turn research University into Uber-liberal voter camp, while cuts funding to scientific research. What current administration is doing is "Let's get rid of all scientific research"
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#6
_Flare
If the italians had stolen the 3rd spot, it whould make more sense to starve scientific research
and just try to make the people think the earth is a pizza like hundreds of years ago. :kookoo:

But hey it just was :pimp:switzerland:pimp:
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#9
R-T-B
Wow, that got political fast.

Why can't we just debate the technical merits guys? I mean the thing is running P100 NVIDIA chips. Let's have some good ol' fashioned red vs green here.

EDIT: Oh wait, I forgot, AMD is virtually gone from the TOP500, sadness.
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#10
Fluffmeister
Summit and Volta with give the US of A top spot again soon enough.

But I agree, why bring up the NSA? Crazy talk.
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#11
xkm1948
Fluffmeister said:
Summit and Volta with give the US of A top spot again soon enough.

But I agree, why bring up the NSA? Crazy talk.
V100 will be a heck of powerhouse for OpenCL / CUDA based applications. Too bad the price will out of reach as well.
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#12
R-T-B
xkm1948 said:
V100 will be a heck of powerhouse for OpenCL / CUDA based applications. Too bad the price will out of reach as well.
Indeed. The issue isn't really whether or not the US makes the parts, it's whether or not we pay for them domestically. Right now, we're not footing the bill, our best supercomputer hasn't even seen an upgrade since 2012. That alone speaks volumes.
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#13
xkm1948
R-T-B said:
Indeed. The issue isn't really whether or not the US makes the parts, it's whether or not we pay for them domestically. Right now, we're not footing the bill, our best supercomputer hasn't even seen an upgrade since 2012. That alone speaks volumes.
I am totally fine with a Titan Pascal. I don't need all those blings blings in terms of deep learning. All I need is a beefy CUDA GPU that does some good FP16/FP32.

However it is SUPER hard to write a Titan GPU in grant proposal. It just doesn't look good. :D
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#14
Prima.Vera
In less than 1 year they will loose 1 more place (at least), since Japan is building the most powerful SC to date at 180 Petaflops.
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#15
lexluthermiester
Prima.Vera said:
In less than 1 year they will loose 1 more place (at least), since Japan is building the most powerful SC to date at 180 Petaflops.
I was thinking about that. Didn't they already have a SC running in the 120PF range? And let's all keep in mind that there are several entities within the US[gov and corp] that have not publicly declared their performance ratings.. These ratings are only the publicly declared numbers..
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#16
silentbogo
What's interesting, is that TOP500 and Green500 are now getting filled with P100. Hence the explanation for P100 deficit (of any kind, except PCIe GDDR5X version) and lack of HBM2 cards for both enterprise and consumer markets.
They're all eaten by evil supercomputers! :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#17
HopelesslyFaithful
Steevo said:
Wonder what NSA has hidden that they don't want to talk about? Real time monitoring of phone calls, messaging, and internet....
thats been done for ages. Cell ISPs for over a decade have saved all text messages for government inspection.

The list has gotten huge from facial recognition to IPass tracking, to so much more.

xkm1948 said:
Not gonna happen with the current administration's war on science and research. Cutting federal funding for EPA, NIH and NSF. Basically they want no scientific research to be done. Many public research Universities are already struggling with paying for maintenance of current HPC. I still have subscription to my institution's HPC. However with more and more cut in scientific funding, I better start build something that can do all the computations in lab.
garbage. The EPA has been a joke for ages. Colleges waste money like crazy, my buddy works as IT in a Florida college and they waste extra budget every year buying useless stuff because if they dont spend it they wont get the money again because management is retarded like lucent in the 80s-90s.

Government spending on science is loaded with pork and corruption and its something the private sector should do of its own free will you statist.

The DOD has 125bil dollars of waste at a minimum but the DOD tried to hide that report but it came out and you know what politicians want to do? Throw more billions at it. I can tell you my time as a contractor for the DOD was laughable at the amount of inherent waste and fraud and incompetence.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/pentagon-buries-evidence-of-125-billion-in-bureaucratic-waste/2016/12/05/e0668c76-9af6-11e6-a0ed-ab0774c1eaa5_story.html?utm_term=.d180b5f92d5b

No where in this massive 2-3 trillion dollar government does it need anymore funding. The waste is horrific. It is 2-3 times larger iirc than the 80s and 90s with nothing really to show.

Take that BS else where please.
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#18
HopelesslyFaithful
R-T-B said:
Wow, that got political fast.

Why can't we just debate the technical merits guys? I mean the thing is running P100 NVIDIA chips. Let's have some good ol' fashioned red vs green here.

EDIT: Oh wait, I forgot, AMD is virtually gone from the TOP500, sadness.
wait for threadripper. I bet thats going to really shake*(awful speller lol) things up.
Posted on Reply
#19
jabbadap
silentbogo said:
What's interesting, is that TOP500 and Green500 are now getting filled with P100. Hence the explanation for P100 deficit (of any kind, except PCIe GDDR5X version) and lack of HBM2 cards for both enterprise and consumer markets.
They're all eaten by evil supercomputers! :laugh:

There's no gddr5x version of P100, GP100 has no gddr memory controllers. Pcie version teslas uses hbm2s, as is the quadro gp100. I don's think that SXM2 versions of P100 has ever been sold separately. German geizhals list those pcie versions, but not that SXM2 version.
Posted on Reply
#20
silentbogo
jabbadap said:
There's no gddr5x version of P100, GP100 has no gddr memory controllers.
My bad. Got confused with P6000, which is GP102, not GP100.
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#21
SAL9000
At the center of whether this is political or not, I'm afraid that it is. Right now the people in charge of funding are not fans of what they see as wasteful spending. Science is somewhat at the center of a lot of our political debate especially about climate change. Scott Pruitt who is the head of the EPA should speak volumes, he has an amazing amount of hate for the EPA and is openly skeptic of climate change due to human activities. So, spending on science and technology is not seen as a good thing in our current administration. Too bad, the long term benefits cannot be underestimated when we invest in this.
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#22
R-T-B
SAL9000 said:
At the center of whether this is political or not, I'm afraid that it is. Right now the people in charge of funding are not fans of what they see as wasteful spending. Science is somewhat at the center of a lot of our political debate especially about climate change. Scott Pruitt who is the head of the EPA should speak volumes, he has an amazing amount of hate for the EPA and is openly skeptic of climate change due to human activities. So, spending on science and technology is not seen as a good thing in our current administration. Too bad, the long term benefits cannot be underestimated when we invest in this.
Except the lack of upgrades to our technology and supercomputing infrastructure began in Obama's second term, mostly.
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#23
timta2
R-T-B said:
Except the lack of upgrades to our technology and supercomputing infrastructure began in Obama's second term, mostly.
Do you have citable sources for this?
Posted on Reply
#24
R-T-B
timta2 said:
Do you have citable sources for this?
I'll admit it's mostly assumption based on the fact that the highest end supercomputer in our lineup, the Titan, has not seen an upgrade since 2012.
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#25
timta2
R-T-B said:
I'll admit it's mostly assumption based on the fact that the highest end supercomputer in our lineup, the Titan, has not seen an upgrade since 2012.
After doing some Googling on the subject, I've found a lot of "Obama wants to increase supercomputer funding" and plenty of "Trump, Republicans, and The Heritage foundation want cuts to The Department of Energy and science.". Feel free to Google it yourself and see what you come up with.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/211247-obama-signs-executive-order-to-build-first-ever-exascale-supercomputer

https://www.top500.org/news/trump-administration-preps-plan-for-huge-cuts-to-department-of-energy/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/28/congress-already-eyeing-department-energy-for-spending-cuts.html

Overall it looks like The Department Of Energy spending has remained about average, adjusted for inflation, since the 1960's, with a 5+% drop in the budget this year.

Too bad we can't use some of that $825 BILLION Dollars a year, that we spend on the military, for supercomputing.
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