China released the worlds fastest supercomputer last year, beating even the America leader at the time by quite some distance. The latest news circulating is that they have ditched Intel and AMD designs to concentrate on their own. This new supercomputer will not likely break into the top ten, but for many reasons, it is very interesting.
The new machine was highlighted at a conference in Jinan, China. It is called the Sunway BlueLight MPP Supercomputer and doesn’t use processors from either AMD or Intel. The chinese made their own chip for this project and discussions are surrounding the possibility that it may get released to market for consumer machines.
Jack Dongarra, a professor with the University of Tennessee spoke to Wired and said “It shows that there’s a significant effort underway in China to build multicore processors that can be put into the world’s fastest computers, And you have to wonder what their strategy is in terms of pushing these chips outside of their borders.”
The ShenWei SW3 is the codename for the new chip. Running in a cluster of 8,700 chips it can handle more than 1,000 trillion calculations a second, a petaflop.
The system should likely be propelled into the top 20 computer systems worldwide and from current reports gathered it would appear that China are firmly planted as a new high profile maker of class leading supercomputers.
According to Wired, the ShenWei processor was designed at a supercomputing institute in China and manufactured in Shanghai. It doesn’t use the x86 instruction set which was adopted by both AMD and Intel. The chip runs at 1ghz, so it won’t threaten the latest designs from either Intel or AMD, but apparently the power consumption is very low, leading to high performance cluster designs, taking less power.
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