A Chinese supercomputer has been announced as the world’s fastest supercomputer which uses only Chinese-designed processors instead of U.S. technology.
The Sunway TaihuLight was developed by China’s National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology using entirely Chinese-designed processors.
According to the latest biannual release of the world’s Top500 supercomputers, the TaihuLight has a theoretical peak performance of 124.5 petaflops. A petaflop equals one thousand trillion (one quadrillion) sustained floating-point operations per second.
It is intended for use in engineering and research including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics.
This latest supercomputer is a monolithic system with 10.65 million compute cores.
TaihuLight, which is installed at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, uses ShenWei CPUs developed by Jiangnan Computing Research Lab in Wuxi. The operating system is a Linux-based Chinese system called Sunway Raise.
It displaced Tianhe-2, another Chinese computer that held the top ranking for the past six years. Tianhe-2 is capable of 33 petaflops and uses chips made by Intel Corp.
This is the first time China is displacing the United States as the country with the most supercomputers in the top 500, marking a new milestone for Chinese supercomputer development and a further erosion of past U.S. dominance of the field. China has 167 systems and the United States has 165. Japan was a distant No. 3 with 29 systems.
Among countries with the most computers on the top 500 list, Germany was in fourth place with 26 systems, France was next with 18, followed by Britain with 12.
Supercomputers, long a field dominated by the United States, are used for weather forecasting, designing nuclear weapons, analyzing oilfields and other specialized purposes.
Over a year ago, the U.S. government banned Intel from supplying Xeon chips to four of China’s top supercomputing research centers.
The U.S. initiated this ban because China, it claimed, was using its Tianhe-2 system for nuclear explosive testing activities. The U.S. stopped live nuclear testing in 1992 and now relies on computer simulations.