The 10 most powerful supercomputers in the world

It’s that time again – the latest supercomputer power rankings have a mighty new champion.

top fastest supercomputers 1
Looking like the world’s most important and uncomfortable furniture…

It’s the six-month anniversary of the last list, which means it’s time for a new one. Terrible shelf-life, these supercomputer lists, but that means there’s a whole new hierarchy of unfathomably powerful computing machines ranked by for our ooh-ing and aah-ing pleasure. Here’s a look at the top 10.

Shaheen II super computer
#10: Shaheen II

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s Shaheen II makes its third consecutive top 10. It’s a Cray-based machine featuring nearly 200,000 total processor cores, 5.536 petaflops of performance on the LINPACK benchmark, and reasonable energy efficiency at roughly 1954 megaflops per watt.

#9: Hazel Hen super computer
#9: Hazel Hen

rom the University of Stuttgart, Hazel Hen is one of just two European entries in the latest top 10. It boasts 5.64 petaflops sustained performance, thanks to 185,000 processor cores, and is, as far as we can see, the only entry with a poultry-related name.

#8: Piz Daint super computer
#8: Piz Daint

The Swiss National Computing Center’s Piz Daint has been on the list since 2012, one of two entries to feature NVIDIA Tesla accelerator cores, of which it has 73,808, giving it a total of nearly 116,000 cores. Clocking in at 6.27 petaflops, it’s also the second-most efficient system on the list, offering 2697 megaflops of performance per watt of power.

#7: Trinity 5 super computer
Credit: FZ Julich, RIKEN
#7: Trinity

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Trinity – named for the original nuclear test conducted near the site in July 1945 – is designed to aid U.S. scientists in predicting and counteracting the spread of nuclear weapons. This marks Trinity’s second appearance in the top 10 – the 8.1 petaflop performance was good for sixth on the last list, but only seventh this time.

#6: Mira super computer
#6: Mira

Situated at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Mira is a long-standing member of the top 10, with more than 786,000 cores powering 8.59 petaflops of performance. In fact, only the two systems directly above Mira on the list have been there longer.

#5: K Computer super computer
#5: K Computer

The longest-standing member of the top 10 is the Fujitsu K Computer, which still pumps out its 10.5 petaflops at the RIKEN Institute in Japan. Only 11 machines on the entire top 500 have been ranked longer than the K Computer, and none have come close to cracking the top 10.

#4: Sequoia super computer
#4: Sequoia

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s heavy hitter is Sequoia, the top-rated IBM machine on the list at 17.1 petaflops. It’s powered by nearly 1,573,000 processor cores, and boasts the third-best energy efficiency at 2177 megaflops per watt.

#3: Titan super computer
#3: Titan

Titan is the computational centerpiece of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, pumping out 17.6 petaflops for the various research projects at the Department of Energy facility. It’s one of four former number one performers still in the top 10, alongside the K Computer and the top two entries in the latest list.

#2: Tianhe-2 super computer
#2: Tianhe-2

Milky Way-2, to give it its translated name, has finally been dethroned, after taking the top spot in the previous six top 10 lists. It’s still the same enormously powerful system, using 3,120,000 processor cores to generate 33.9 sustained petaflops, but it loses out to another machine created by Chinese government and industry this time…

#1: Sunway TaihuLight super computer
Credit: Jack Dongarra/
#1: Sunway TaihuLight

Well, here it is – the biggest and most powerful supercomputer ever created. Boasting more than 10 million processor cores and almost tripling – at 93 petaflops – the performance mark of its Chinese rival in the #2 spot, TaihuLight is a monster. It’s also far and away the most energy-efficient machine in the top 10, at 6051 megaflops per watt.