China Now Has World's Most Powerful Supercomputer

Can perform more than 30 quadrillion calculations per second


Two weeks ago, Jack Dongarra flew to Changsha, China for a meeting with researchers at the National University of Defense Technology, home to the country's top supercomputing program. He expected an update on their plans for a new mega-machine, but they had a little surprise for him: The system was already up and running.

It's called Tianhe-2, and with more than 3 million processor cores, it's the world's most powerful supercomputer. It can perform more than 30 quadrillion calculations per second, easily dwarfing the runner-up, an Oak Ridge National Laboratories machine known as Titan. The Oak Ridge system can do 17.59 quadrillion calculations per second, according to its most recent published benchmarks.

On Monday, the folks who keep track of the world's biggest supercomputers will release the latest rankings, called the Top500 List, and the smart money is betting Tianhe-2 will be on top.