China has outdone its own feat of technological accomplishment by building the world’s fastest supercomputer for the third time. The new Sunway TaihuLight computer is capable of 93 petaflops; dwarfing the 34 petaflops of the second place Tian-he 2.
The accomplishments of the engineers behind the TaihuLight are not just confined to building an extremely powerful computer. Rather, this is also the first supercomputer from China to be build without any western designed chips. The US had earlier placed a ban on the sale of chips necessary building supercomputers which prevented Intel from upgrading the previous most powerful machine.
In an odd twist, the use of homegrown chips has allowed the TaihuLight to be far more energy efficient than it’s American powered counterparts. The TaihuLight packs 10.65 million cores into 40 cabinets; yet, is about of producing over five times more power than the faster US supercomputer which has 560,000 cores.
China has also overtaken the US in terms of sheer numbers of supercomputers in the Top 500 list by 167 to 165. A situation that may concern the western superpower.
Supercomputers are used in a wide range of applications, from scientific research to predicting weather patterns. They are, however, also extremely important for the military as these machines are used for cracking enemy codes and developing nuclear weapons.
The National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology – which developed Sunway TaihuLight – expects their machine to be used for manufacturing, life sciences, computer-aided engineering, weather forecasting and modeling other earth systems.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]