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John O | October 2018

Three Chinese teams competing to build the fastest supercomputer in the world

By Josh Perry, Editor


According to a report from Science, engineers at the National Supercomputer Center of Tianjin (China) are working to unseat the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory as the fastest supercomputer in the world.


The Chinese are working to build a new supercomputer that will be the fastest in the world. (Wikimedia Commons)


China held the title for world’s fastest computer eight years ago when the Tianhe-1A supercomputer ran at 2.57 petaflops, but there is a new prototype in the works that could reach one exaflop (1,000 petaflops). This would be five times faster than Oak Ridge’s Summit.


The unusual part about China’s quest to build the fastest computer, according to Science, is that the Tianjin team is one of three separate groups working towards the same goal. There are also teams at the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan and at Beijing manufacturer Dawning Information Industry, Co.


“Being first is not China's only goal, however,” the article explained, quoting a physicist leading R&D at the center. “Having three competing teams will ensure broad-based technological advancement in computer chips, operating software, networking, and data storage technologies.”


Having three teams involved also allowed the cost of the projects (with a reported $9 million per prototype) to be shared between the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and regional governments.


Read more about this project at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/three-chinese-teams-join-race-build-world-s-fastest-supercomputer.

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