China in global race to build fastest super-computer in 2020

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China has joined the global race to build the world’s fastest supercomputer in 2020.

“China is preparing to work on a supercomputer with a capacity of 100 petaflops by 2015 and try to produce the first exascale computer in 2020,” the China Daily quoted the Tianhe-1A supercomputer’s Deputy Chief Designer, Hu Qingfeng, as saying.

“We have kicked off the research of some core technologies and manpower cultivation for the plan,” he added.

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Chinese scientists are attempting to produce Exascale computing, which means generating computing beyond the current petascale. If achieved, it will represent a thousandfold increase on that scale.

The challenges confronting the technique include the performance of central processing unit (CPU), interconnection network, programming, energy management and system fault tolerance, he said.

The challenges in developing supercomputers include technology breakthroughs and the promotion among users who usually prefer the old systems they are used to operating, Tianhe team member Lu Yutong said.

“In a move to promote supercomputers’ application among users, we need to better understand their practical demand,” she said.

The Tianhe-1A supercomputer has won positive feedback from about 100 users in varied fields such as seismic science, meteorology, medicine, commercial design, construction and manufacturing.

The next target for the Tianhe-1A team is to build a machine that can perform tens of petaflops per second, as well as developing new CPUs and graphics processing units (GPUs).

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