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The 'MistralÓ supercomputer in Hamburg. Photo: Morris MacMatzen/Getty

The United States took the top spot in the TOP500, a biannual ranking of the world's fastest computing systems, for the first time since 2012 with the new Summit supercomputer, but it continues to lose ground to China overall.

Why it matters: In an ever-advancing industry, the world's most powerful computers are continually growing stronger and faster — and, in the burgeoning tech war between the U.S. and China, they're a mark of a nation's technical prowess.

The world's top supercomputers, by the numbers:

  • Summit, built by IBM, secured its top position performing at 122.3 petaflops, but it could theoretically reach 200 petaflops. That means it can perform 200,000 trillion calculations each second, analyzing data to find solutions in energy, AI and human health, among other issues.
  • China's most powerful system, the Sunway TaihuLight, was ranked #2 after two years at the top of the list.
  • China has the most computers on the list — at 206 computers.
  • Even with two systems in the top five, the U.S. has just 124 computers on the list — 21 fewer than six months ago.
  • Chinese-based Lenovo made 122 of the 500 machines on the list, the most of any manufacturer. It's the first time the top high-performance computer maker has been based outside the U.S.

Go deeper: China now has more supercomputers than the U.S.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
32 mins ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

12 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

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