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China is working on the fastest supercomputer, ever

It looks like China is building Skynet, with plans for a prototype exascale computer to be built this year

By Anthony Garreffa from Jan 18, 2017 @ 23:39 CST

China is working on the next generation of supercomputers, with plans to have a prototype exacale computer by the end of 2017. The country wants to be the first to build a supercomputer capable of a billion, billion calculations per second.


If they can do this, China would propel themselves to #1 in the world of supercomputing - beating out what was the world's fastest supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight machine, which came to life in June 2016.

China became a country to look to for supercomputers, as they made their supercomputer using locally made chips - versus products from US companies like AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA. Exascale computers on the other hand, are magnitudes more powerful - capable of 1 quintillion calculations per second (a billion, billion - so, like, really fast).

Although the country might have a prototype by the end of the year, a working exascale-capable supercomputer would be years away, according to Zhang Ting, the application engineer at the National Supercomputer Center in the port of Tianjin.

Zhang explained: "A complete computing system of the exascale supercomputer and its applications can only be expected in 2020, and will be 200 times more powerful than the country's first petaflop computer Tianhe-1, recognised as the world's fastest in 2010".

The exascale supercomputer would be used in massive data and cloud computing applications, with Zhang noting that the prototype would be the #1 in data transmission efficiency as well as calculation speeds.

As it stands, China has more top-ranked supercomputers than the US, with 167 systems versus the US and its 165. Out of the top 10 fastest supercomputers, China has two, and the US has five - as of November.


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