Thursday, October 28, 2010

China's Tianhe-1A Takes Supercomputer Crown from US

Via The Guardian UK -

China has overtaken the US as home of the world's fastest supercomputer. Tianhe-1A, named for the Milky Way, is capable of sustained computing of 2.507 petaflops – equivalent to 2,507 trillion calculations – each second.

The US scientist who maintains the international rankings visited it last week and said he believed it was 1.4 times faster than the former number one, the Cray XT5 Jaguar in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. That topped the list in June with a rate of 1.75 petaflops a second.

The US is home to more than half of the world's top 500 supercomputers. China had 24 in the last list, but has pumped billions of pounds into developing its computational ability in recent years. The machines are used for everything from modelling climate change and studying the beginnings of the universe to assisting aeroplane design.

Housed in the northern port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, Tianhe-1A was developed by the National University of Defence Technology. The system was built from thousands of chips made by US firms – Intel and Nvidia – but domestic researchers developed the networking technology that allows information to be exchanged between servers at extraordinary speeds.


The NYT calculated that Tianhe-1 could perform mathematical operations about 29m times faster than one of the earliest supercomputers, built in 1976. Scientists in the US are already contemplating exascale computing – aiming to develop devices capable of performing a million trillion calculations a second.


If verified, Tianhe-1 would be significantly faster than the current title holder, the U.S. Department of Energy's Cray XT5 Jaguar in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which topped the list issued in June at 1.75 petaflops per second.


So that's where all that rare-earth mineral went eh? ;)

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