Technology | Technology: China has fastest supercomputer, with Chinese chips

Technology: China has fastest supercomputer, with Chinese chips

June 20, 2016 10:03 AM (UTC+8)

 

In this photo released by the Xinhua News Agency and taken on June 16, 2016, the Sunway TaihuLight, a new Chinese supercomputer, is seen in Wuxi, eastern China's Jiangsu Province. A supercomputer from China has topped a global list of the fastest systems for a seventh straight year, and for the first time the winner, Sunway TaihuLight, uses only Chinese-designed processors instead of U.S. technology. (Li Xiang/Xinhua via AP) NO SALES
In this photo released by the Xinhua News Agency and taken on June 16, 2016, the Sunway TaihuLight, a new Chinese supercomputer, is seen in Wuxi, eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. A supercomputer from China has topped a global list of the fastest systems for a seventh straight year, and for the first time the winner, Sunway TaihuLight, uses only Chinese-designed processors instead of U.S. technology. (Li Xiang/Xinhua via AP) NO SALES

(From The Verge)

A Chinese supercomputer built using domestic chip technology has been declared the world’s fastest. The news highlights China’s recent advances in the creation of such systems, as well the country’s waning reliance on US semiconductor technology.

The Sunway TaihuLight takes the top spot from previous record-holder Tianhe-2 (also located in China), and more than triples the latter’s speed. The new number one is capable of performing some 93 quadrillion calculations per second (otherwise known as petaflops) and is roughly five times more powerful than the speediest US system, which is now ranked third worldwide.

The TaihuLight is comprised of some 41,000 chips, each with 260 processor cores. This makes for a total of 10.65 million cores, compared to the 560,000 cores in America’s top machine. In terms of memory, it’s relatively light on its feet, with just 1.3 petabytes used for the entire machine. (By comparison, the much less powerful 10-petaflop K supercomputer uses 1.4 petabytes of RAM.) This means it’s unusually energy efficient, drawing just 15.3 megawatts of power — less than the 17.8 megawatts used by the 33-petaflop Tianhe-2.

More significantly than its specs, though, is the fact that the TaihuLight is built from Chinese semiconductors. “It’s not based on an existing architecture. They built it themselves,” Jack Dongarra, a professor at the University of Tennessee and creator of the measurement system used to rank the world’s supercomputers, told Bloomberg. “This is a system that has Chinese processors.” Read more

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