The first Top500 list for 2018 of the world's most powerful supercomputers was released on June 25, ushering in the biggest shakeup in the standings since November 2012.
Four of the top five supercomputers on the June 2018 list are either new or significantly more powerful than they were six months ago.
For the last two years, the Sunway TaihuLight system at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China, has held the top spot at 93 petaflops. In the June 2018 list, however, Sunway has dropped to number two behind the new champion, the US Department of Energy's Summit supercomputer, which is the first system to pass the 100 petaflop barrier, packing in a whopping 122.3 petaflops.
The U.S. now also holds the number three slot as well with the new Sierra system at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Sierra has 71.6 petaflops and, like Summit, was built by IBM. Both Sierra and Summit use IBM Power9 CPUs in combination with Nvidia Tesla GPUs.
Coming in at the number four spot is another Chinese system, the Tianhe-2A, which had previously held the number two spot with 33.9 petaflops. Tianhe-2A actually got a significant boost recently, adding in new custom-built Matrix-2000 co-processors that boost performance up to 61.4 petaflops.
Rounding out the top five systems is the new Fujitsu-built AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI) in Japan, which came in at 19.9 petaflops.
China vs U.S.
Looking at the geographic distribution of systems, 206 of the systems on the June 2018 Top500 list are in China, up from 202 in November 2017. In contrast, the U.S. now only has 124 systems on the list, down from 145 in November 2017.
From an aggregate performance perspective, however, the U.S. leads with 38.2 percent of installed aggregate performance, while China is in second at 29.1 percent.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eSecurityPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.