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   Home » Laboratory News » China's Fastest Supercomputer Unveiled
 
Laboratory News
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China's fastest supercomputer "Tianhe-1," is about to be equipped with Chinese-made central processing unit chips, meaning that China could rival the world's most powerful computers
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China's Fastest Supercomputer Unveiled

 It will not be long before China's fastest super computer "Tianhe-1," the name of which means Milky Way, is to be equipped with Chinese-made central processing unit chips, replacing the only part of the computer that is imported. At the same time, this signifies that China could rival the world's most powerful computers. Theoretically, it is capable of more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second when operating at peak speed. 

The high-performance computer has been praised as the "Mount Qomolangma" of computers, embodying science and technological competitiveness, and it is an important indicator of overall national strength. Currently, it has become the third key element in research in addition to theory and experimentation, and it is indispensable to economic and social development. 

Tianhe-1 is China's first domestically-made petaflop supercomputer, and it began the phase of debugging and testing in September, according to the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjing. 

Earlier this year, the first device of Tianhe-1 was put into operation at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin. 

The Tianhe-1 supercomputer system is now providing 24-hour remote network applications and running in good condition. After the petaflop computer system is completed, the calculation tasks will be transferred to it. Currently, the number of users of the National Supercomputing Center in Beijing and Tianjin is gradually increasing. 

With high-performance CPU chips, the system's overall processing power has increased substantially, and its information security is receiving more technological guarantees. 

The Tianhe-1 was successfully developed by the Changsha-based National Univ. of Defense Technology in 2009, and China thus became the world's second country capable of developing petaflop supercomputers, only after the United States. 

The Tianhe-1 was ranked fifth on the list of the Top 500 supercomputers issued in November 2009. One second of calculations conducted by Tianhe-1 is equivalent to 88 consecutive years of calculations by 1.3 billion people, and the data that the supercomputer can store is equivalent to the sum of the collections in four national libraries with 27 million books each. 

"I was shocked at the milestone breakthrough, which was beyond expectation," says Zhang Yunquan, a researcher with the Institute of Software of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and an organizer of the China Top 100 list, which was released at a national conference on high-performance computers. 

"I previously forecast China's first petaflop computer no earlier than the end of 2010," says Zhang. 

"As far as I know, a combination of CPU and GPU is something new used to make a petaflop computer. A GPU, or graphic processing unit, plays a role as an accelerator to make the computer run faster, but reduces its power consumption and cost" says Li Nan, chief coordinator of the program. 

The "Tianhe-1" will mainly be used for animation rendering, biomedical research, aerospace equipment development, processing of resource exploration and satellite remote-sensing data, data analysis for financial engineering, weather forecasts, new materials development and design and theoretical calculations in general science. (People's Daily Online) 

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

 
 
 
 
 
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