The United States has many powerful supercomputers, but since 2013 none of them have been the fastest in the world. As of 2016, the United States also doesn't have the second-fastest supercomputer in the world. And as of today, the U.S. doesn't even have the third-fastest supercomputer in the world. That honor .
Over the past year, the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre's "Piz Daint" supercomputer has been receiving an upgrade that more than tripled its speed, which moved it from number 8 on the TOP500 list of top supercomputers all the way to number 3. The upgrade increased its speed to around 20 petaflops, slightly faster than the 17 petaflops that the U.S. Titan supercomputer is capable of.
This is still nowhere near fast enough to beat out the two Chinese supercomputers that top the list. The Tianhe-2 computer reaches 33 petaflops, while the Sunway TaihuLight computer, which took the top spot in 2016, reaches a whopping 93 petaflops.
This is the first time since 1996 that a U.S. supercomputer has not made it into the top three spots on the TOP500, likely reflecting the lack of development in supercomputer technology. But that might be about to change. The Department of Energy to a number of companies to help develop next-generation supercomputer tech, so perhaps the U.S. can reclaim those top spots in the next few years.