Nvidia now powers a majority of the world's top 500 supercomputers

Selene Supercomputer
(Image credit: Nvidia)
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TOP500 has released the 56th edition (opens in new tab) of its list of the top 500 supercomputers (opens in new tab) in the world revealing that nearly 70 percent of them are now powered by Nvidia technology.

When it comes to the most powerful supercomputers on the list, the US chip giant powers eight of the top 10 while four supercomputers that use its technology alongside AI (opens in new tab) have been nominated for the Gordon Bell Prize which is supercomputing's most prestigious award.

Nvidia now powers a majority of the world's top 500 supercomputers thanks to the success of its end-to-end HGX AI supercomputing platform that accelerates scientific computing, data analysis and AI workloads.

At the same time, the shift to incorporating AI into HPC represents a significant change in a field that has focused on harnessing larger, more powerful machines for compute-intensive simulation and modeling since Seymour Cray (opens in new tab) first launched his CDC 6600 mainframe computer system back in 1964.

Ranking the world's most powerful supercomputers

In order to update its list of the top 500 supercomputers twice every year, TOP500 uses Jack Dongarra's Linpack benchmark (opens in new tab) because it is widely used and performance numbers are available for almost all relevant systems.

However, in a new blog post (opens in new tab), Nvidia makes the case that the latest TOP500 list is about more than high-performance Linpack results as speed records, “smarts” records and green records were also taken into account.

Speed records are measured by the speed it takes to do operations in a double-precision floating-point format called FP64 while “smarts” records are measured by HPL-AI which is the mixed-precision standard that's the benchmark for AI performance. The environmental impact of supercomputers is measured by green records and the Nvidia DGX SuperPod system (opens in new tab) earned the top spot on the Green500 list of the most efficient supercomputers by achieving a new world record in power efficiency at 26.2 gigaflops per watt.

Nvidia's most impressive achievement though is the fact that the firm is well on its way to surpass exascale computing (opens in new tab) ahead of schedule. Back in October, Italy's CINECA supercomputing center revealed its plans to build the world's most powerful AI supercomputer called Leonardo (opens in new tab) with an expected 10 exaflops of AI performance.

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.