China has been named the home of the fastest supercomputer for the 7th year in a row.
But for the first time, and what makes this year’s choice unique, is the fact that this year’s winning computer has won using only Chinese designed processors.
The computer based in the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, and named Sunway TaihuLight was designed and developed by the Chinese National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology.
With an ability to process 93 petaflops that also makes it just about three times faster than the previous record setter, the Tianhe-2, also Chinese, which was clocked at being able to process 33.85 petaflops.
The TaihuLight can perform approximately a quadrillion calculations a second, which is much faster than the Tianhe-2, built with US designed processors can achieve. In theory, the TaihuLight could achieve peak a peak performance of 124 petaflops.
That China has been trying to develop a 100 petaflop system (or close enough for it not to really matter) isn’t exactly new, well, news, but it was widely anticipated that the Chinese would use US based Intel company chips to reach the fabled 100 petaflop barrier.
Bad move on the part of the US
However, the US banned Intel from shipping the Xeon chips to Chinese super computer manufacturers last year because they claimed that last year’s winner, the Tianhe-2 was being used for predictive simulations to do with nuclear explosive experiments.
The irony of the embargo is that China just went ahead and upped its own processor development.
As well as claiming the top spot for the world’s most powerful supercomputer for yet another year, 2016 also marks the first year that China has surpassed the US for the first time as being the country with highest number of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, albeit only just. The US has 165, China has 167.
Other countries to make the top 10 included Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia.