Sunway TaihuLight is the world's fastest supercomputer
Sunway TaihuLight is the world's fastest supercomputerReuters/Fred Lancelot

China's Sunway TaihuLight and Tainhe-2 are the world's fastest and second fastest supercomputers, according to the latest semiannual TOP500 list of supercomputers.

The TOP500 list, released on Monday, described Sunway TaihuLight as "far and away the most powerful number-cruncher on the planet". TaihuLight has been at the top position since last June after it dethroned Tianhe-2.

Sunway TaihuLight uses home grown processors and it is capable of performing 93 petaflops, whereas Tianhe-2 is powered with Intel chips can do 33.9 petaflops.

"It highlights China's ability to conduct independent research in the supercomputing field," Haohuan Fu, deputy director of the National Supercomputing Center told Xinhua news agency.

"China is simultaneously developing hardware and software technologies of supercomputers. It is expected that rapid development in homegrown hardware technologies, supported by homegrown software, will lead to a stronger research and engineering test capacity in many fields, thus promoting an industrial upgrading and, eventually, a sustainable development of China's homegrown supercomputing industry," Fu added.

The third place in the latest ranking is taken by the upgrade Piz Daint, a system at the Swiss national Supercomputer Centre. US's Titan is at the fourth place, with a performance of 17.6 petaflops, which has been a constant since its installation in 2012.

"This is the second time in the 24-year history of the TOP500 list that the United States has failed to secure any of the top three positions," the TOP500 organisers said in a statement.

"Nevertheless, the U.S. still claims five of the top 10 supercomputers, which is more than any other nation," said the organisers.

Fu called the upgraded Swiss machine "really a surprise" and that "it reflects the increased investment in large-scale supercomputers in Europe."