Updated TOP50 (rating of CIS supercomputers): dynamics and trends

The computing power race is an ongoing process that shifts the ceiling of modern computer capabilities a little higher every day. On some days, however, the results of this background work appear in especially vivid form. Last week, an updated version of the rating of supercomputers of the CIS countries appeared on the Web, created by the joint efforts of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Research Computing Center and the RAS Interdepartmental Supercomputer Center. Under the cut you will find a brief overview of changes and general trends, created on the basis of site materials TOP50.

To get started, let’s go over the main events and summarize the past six months:

  • The new edition of the rating was headed by a new leader – the Christofari supercomputer, a joint project of SberCloud (Cloud Technologies LLC) and NVIDIA, which first appeared in the rating and immediately jumped ahead by a large margin in terms of performance.
  • In addition to the winner, two more new participants appeared on the list of the most powerful computing systems. The development from Hewlett Packard Enterprise started from 15th place, and PetaNode 1.0 Cluster, created by Computer Ecosystems and TechnoCity, turned out to be 37th in the general list.
  • Three projects presented updated versions of their systems: Polytechnic – RSK Tornado and MVS-10P OP2 from the RSK group of companies, as well as Uranus from Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Open Technologies LLC. At the same time, the first is held in fifth place, the second has risen 10 positions in the ranking (from 22 to 12 places), and the third – by eight (from 26 to 18 places)
  • In total, the current fifty market leaders gave a productivity increase of 7.2 PFlop / s compared to the previous set – 20 PFlop / s against 12.8 PFlop / s in 2019. Overall peak performance also increased from 20.9 PFlop / s to 30.6 PFlop / s.
  • In parallel with the growth of capacities, the requirements for the rating participants also increase: now the threshold for entering the TOP50 is 56.84 TFlop / s on the Linpack test – for half a year the lower performance limit has shifted to 3.3 TFlop / s.

Now dwell on some details. Naturally, those projects that entered the TOP50 for the first time cannot but arouse interest – let’s look at their characteristics and capabilities.

As already mentioned, the Christofari supercomputer took the rating by storm: its performance on the Linpack test showed a result of 6.7 PFlop / s, and peak performance – 8.8 PFlop / s. If we take into account that the next Lomonosov-2 system from T-Platforms company has these figures of 2.5 PFlop / s and 4.9 PFlop / s, respectively, we can assume that Kristofari is firmly established in the leadership position. The technological base of the project is compiled by NVIDIA DGX-2 computing nodes equipped with Tesla V100 graphics accelerators. The supercomputer is designed to work with artificial intelligence algorithms from different problem areas (medical diagnostics, face recognition, voice biometry). In the TOP500 world ranking, Cristofari takes 29th place.

The first “newcomer” – supercomputer “Christofari”

For the computing cluster UITiS NOVATEK STC from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the following figures are given: 273.28 TFlop / s on the Linpack test at 496.87 Tflop / s peak performance. High power is achieved through the use of the first generation Xeon Scalable processor line. The purpose of this system makes it stand out among other participants: a supercomputer was created specifically for solving research and applied problems from the field of geophysics (extracting knowledge, processing large amounts of textual information, modeling processes and phenomena in the oil and gas industry and more).

The second of the “new” – the UITiS cluster NOVATEK STC

The supercomputer “PetaNode 1.0 Cluster” manufactured by Computer Ecosystems and TechnoCity has a performance of 79.1 Tflop / s on the Linpack test and a peak performance of 141.47 Tflop / s. A distinctive feature of the development is the use of accelerators from AMD at the rate of 10 GPUs per node. The main purpose of this supercomputer is climate modeling – a niche little mastered by the TOP50 participants.

The latest innovation is the PetaNode 1.0 Cluster supercomputer

In general, the rating has undergone changes related to debuts and updates. Due to the new leader of the list and two other newcomers, the positions of the remaining supercomputers from the previous TOP50 list lost from 1 to 5 points in the rating.

With regard to the technical equipment of the total mass of projects, the changes are not radical, but tangible. The Intel processor remains an indispensable attribute of the latest generation supercomputer – at the moment, there are no alternative solutions in the ranking. InfiniBand network (33 cases versus 35) and more often – 10 Gigabit Ethernet (eight cases against six) became less commonly used for communication between nodes.

It should be noted separately that two of their three newcomers to the rating (Kristofari and PetaNode 1.0 Cluster) set a clear trend for the transition, if not return, from building heterogeneous and hybrid clusters to homogeneous systems using graphics accelerators. This trend seems to be driven by criteria for energy efficiency and density.

Applications for supercomputers, for the most part, remain unchanged. The sphere of science and education remains the most relevant – it is served by 23 systems, while in applied research 10 supercomputers are used (three less than in the previous version of the top). The industry is still poorly covered by the latest technological advances – only three out of fifty machines work for its needs. In addition, the rating includes projects designed for tasks such as seismic forecasts, IT services, cloud storage, servicing the commercial and financial sectors.

Finally, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the RSK group of companies, and T-Platforms remain the most active suppliers of supercomputers of the highest standard.
In total, their contribution to the TOP50 is 35 projects (13, 11 and 11, respectively). The remaining positions are also mainly divided between well-known players.

The next time the rating will be reviewed and updated by September 21 of this year – we are waiting and making bets.

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