Reports indicate that China is hard at work on a supercomputer that is claimed to be five times faster than a supercomputer the U.S. is expected to deploy soon. That U.S. supercomputer is called Titan and promises performance of about 20 petaflops.
The Chinese supercomputer, which will be deployed in 2015, is boasting performance of 100 petaflops. The computer will be called the Tianhe-2 according to the Guangzhou Supercomputing Center where the computer will reside. Performance of 100 petaflops works out to a quadrillion floating-point calculations per second.
Supercomputer industry experts believe that computers will start reaching the 1000 petaflop performance barrier by 2018. China briefly had the world's fastest supercomputer in 2010 with the Tianhe-1A that had a peak theoretical speed of 4.7 petaflops. That computer is now the fifth fastest in the world.
The new Chinese supercomputer is being designed by the China National University of Defense Technology. The Chinese are aiming for the 100 petaflop barrier by 2015 and then 1000 petaflops, or 1 exaflop, by 2018.
"Taking the top spot in the world's fastest supercomputers gave us a lot of drive, and gave us more confidence to develop better machines," Zhang Yunquan said. Asked Chinese supercomputer should use processors from Intel and Nvidia. However, Zhang says that using hardware from American companies could change as China invests more in the development of homegrown technologies. An example is the completely Chinese developed Shenwei 1600 processor used in the Sunway Bluelight supercomputer last year.
"This Shenwei 1600 showed that we can make a supercomputer capable of 1 petaflop of performance with our own technology," Zhang said. "I think in the future, as China tries to reach for exascale computing, the designs of these new supercomputers could fully rely on domestic processors. I wouldn't dismiss the possibility."