The 10 mightiest supercomputers on the planet

China retains top spot for fourth consecutive Top500 list, and the most energy-efficient machine is operated by the U.S. government

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The fastest computers in the world

It was a familiar top 10 released by the authors of the twice-annual Top500 ranking of world supercomputers, with most entries largely unchanged from this summer’s list. Here’s a look at the 10 fastest machines in the world.

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#10: Mystery computer (U.S.)

A mysterious Cray CS-Storm, Infiniband-based machine operated by the U.S. government at an undisclosed location is the lone newcomer to the latest top 10. It’s also the most energy-efficient, providing 2386.42 megaflops per watt of power.

TOP SPEED: 3.57 petaflops


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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (One-Time Use)

#9: Vulcan (U.S.)

Vulcan is the least powerful of the big four Department of Energy entries on the latest list, being employed as part of the DOE’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center.

TOP SPEED: 4.29 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 393,216

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Jülich Research Center (One-Time Use)

#8: JUQUEEN (Germany)

JUQUEEN is a regular fixture in the top 10, having been there since mid-2012. It’s operated by the Jülich Research Center in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and is the less-powerful of the two European entries in the latest top 10.

TOP SPEED: 5 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 458,752

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Texas Advanced Computing Center (One-Time Use)

#7: Stampede (U.S.)

The thematically named powerhouse from the University of Texas is the only Dell-powered entry in the top 10. It’s also the top academic supercomputer in the world.

TOP SPEED: 5.17 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 462,462

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Swiss National Computing Center (One-Time Use)

#6: Piz Daint (Switzerland)

Piz Daint, named after an Alpine mountain less than 80 miles from its site at the Swiss National Computing Center in Lugano, is the most powerful supercomputer in Europe.

TOP SPEED: 6.27 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 115,984

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Argonne National Laboratory (One-Time Use)

#5: Mira (U.S.)

Mira is another member of long standing in the top 10, powering Department of Energy work at the Argonne National Laboratory. This is its sixth appearance on the list, and fourth consecutive fifth-place finish.

TOP SPEED: 8.59 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 786,432

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RIKEN (One-Time Use)

#4: K Computer (Japan)

The Fujitsu K Computer has an even longer streak of top 10 appearances -- it was the fastest in the world when it debuted on the list in June 2011. Like Mira, it has held its position for the past four lists.

TOP SPEED: 10.5 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 705,024

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (One-Time Use)

#3: Sequoia (U.S.)

Sequoia debuted on the Top500 list a mere six months after the Fujitsu K Computer, taking the top spot in its second list. It’s operated by the Department of Energy at Lawrence Livermore National Labs in California.

TOP SPEED: 17.2 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 1,572,864

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory (One-Time Use)

#2: Titan (U.S.)

The top U.S. supercomputer is also a Department of Energy machine, this one housed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It’s been the second-fastest supercomputer for the past four lists.

TOP SPEED: 17.6 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 560,640

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#1: Tianhe-2 (China)

The winner and still the champ is the Milky Way-2, or Tianhe-2, operated by China’s National University of Defense Technology in Guangzhou.

TOP SPEED: 33.9 petaflops

TOTAL CORES: 3,120,000