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Top500.org: Cray XC50 supercomputer buy sees NZ join the 'petaflop club'

Cray XC50 poised to eclipse WETA Digital's 864 teraflop HPE Apollo clusters on Top500's global supercomputer rankings.
  • Rob O'Neill (New Zealand Reseller News)
  • 12 June, 2017 07:56
New Zealand's new Cray XC50 would rank 72nd on Top500.org's most recent global supercomputer rankings.

New Zealand's new Cray XC50 would rank 72nd on Top500.org's most recent global supercomputer rankings.

New Zealand will join the global supercomputing elite after a consortia of scientific bodies banded together to buy one of the world's most powerful supercomputers last week.

Top500.org, which tracks supercomputer deployments worldwide, said the new Cray XC50 purchased as part of a $31.7 million science investment, will not only be the most powerful computer in New Zealand, it will rival the Australia's best.

New Zealand already has three systems on the Top500 list, all HPE Apollo clusters owned by Wellington-based film production studio WETA Digital. 

The most powerful of these is rated at 864-teraflops at peak performance and ranks at 274 in the world in Top500's analysis.

The new Cray would rank around 72nd on the current list.

"Should NIWA choose to submit the upcoming XC50 system for a list ranking, it will certainly be the number one machine in New Zealand, and will rival the 1.4 petaflop Magnus supercomputer in neighbouring Australia," Top500 noted

"More importantly, it will give the country’s scientists, a top tier supercomputer for cutting-edge research and weather forecasting."

Top500's November analysis showed China and United States pacing each other for supercomputing supremacy. 

Both claimed 171 systems, two-thirds of the entire list. However, China maintained its dominance at the top of the list with its 93 petaflop Sunway TaihuLight system and 34 petaflop Tianhe-2. 

After US and China, Germany claimed 32 entries, followed by Japan with 27, France with 20, and the UK with 17. 

The total performance of all 500 computers on the list was 672 petaflops, a 60% increase from a year earlier.

Water and atmospheric research institute NIWA led the New Zealand buying consortia with an $18 million investment.