Latest TOP500 List Unveiled

Overall performance is better, but the rate of improvement is slowing.

The latest list of the top 500 supercomputers was announced this week at the Supercomputing 2014 Conference in New Orleans. China's Tianhe-2 supercomputer topped the list at 33.86 petaFLOPS for the fourth straight time. (The TOP500 list comes out twice per year.)
The most significant feature of this list is the lack of change since the last list. The only change in the top 10 was a new 3.57PFLOPS Cray system (for an undisclosed US Government site) taking the Number 10 position.
The total performance of all 500 systems is 309PFLOPS -- up from 274PFLOPS for the last list. Although the systems are indeed getting faster, many sources point to the fact that the overall growth rate in performance has slowed. According to the TOP500 press release, “With the latest list, the overall list-by-list growth rates of performance continues to be at historically low values for the last two years. This lag in the overall average performance of all 500 systems is noticeably influenced by the very large systems at the top of the list. Recent installations of very large systems – up to June 2013 – have counteracted the reduced growth rate at the bottom of the list, but with few new systems at the top of the past few lists, the overall growth rate is now slowing. This offers an indication that the market for the very largest systems might currently behave differently from the market of mid-sized and smaller supercomputers.”
The list features 50 computers with performance greater than 1PFLOPS, up from 37 six months ago. A total of 75 systems on the list use accelerator/coprocessor technology.
For more information on the latest TOP500 list, see the press release at the TOP500 website.