Chinese Supercomputer Wrests Title From U.S.

Discussion in 'Chinese Defence Forum' started by ao333, Oct 28, 2010.

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  1. ao333
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    ao333 FULL MEMBER

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    A Chinese scientific research center has built the fastest supercomputer ever made, replacing the United States as maker of the swiftest machine, and giving China bragging rights as a technology superpower.

    The Tianhe-1A computer in Tianjin, China, links thousands upon thousands of chips.
    The computer, known as Tianhe-1A, has 1.4 times the horsepower of the current top computer, which is at a national laboratory in Tennessee, as measured by the standard test used to gauge how well the systems handle mathematical calculations, said Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains the official supercomputer rankings.

    Although the official list of the top 500 fastest machines, which comes out every six months, is not due to be completed by Mr. Dongarra until next week, he said the Chinese computer “blows away the existing No. 1 machine.” He added, “We don’t close the books until Nov. 1, but I would say it is unlikely we will see a system that is faster.”

    Officials from the Chinese research center, the National University of Defense Technology, are expected to reveal the computer’s performance on Thursday at a conference in Beijing. The center says it is “under the dual supervision of the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Education.”

    The race to build the fastest supercomputer has become a source of national pride as these machines are valued for their ability to solve problems critical to national interests in areas like defense, energy, finance and science. Supercomputing technology also finds its way into mainstream business; oil and gas companies use it to find reservoirs and Wall Street traders use it for superquick automated trades. Procter & Gamble even uses supercomputers to make sure that Pringles go into cans without breaking.

    And typically, research centers with large supercomputers are magnets for top scientific talent, adding significance to the presence of the machines well beyond just cranking through calculations.

    Over the last decade, the Chinese have steadily inched up in the rankings of supercomputers. Tianhe-1A stands as the culmination of billions of dollars in investment and scientific development, as China has gone from a computing afterthought to a world technology superpower.

    “What is scary about this is that the U.S. dominance in high-performance computing is at risk,” said Wu-chun Feng, a supercomputing expert and professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “One could argue that this hits the foundation of our economic future.”

    Modern supercomputers are built by combining thousands of small computer servers and using software to turn them into a single entity. In that sense, any organization with enough money and expertise can buy what amount to off-the-shelf components and create a fast machine.

    The Chinese system follows that model by linking thousands upon thousands of chips made by the American companies Intel and Nvidia. But the secret sauce behind the system — and the technological achievement — is the interconnect, or networking technology, developed by Chinese researchers that shuttles data back and forth across the smaller computers at breakneck rates, Mr. Dongarra said.

    “That technology was built by them,” Mr. Dongarra said. “They are taking supercomputing very seriously and making a deep commitment.”

    The Chinese interconnect can handle data at about twice the speed of a common interconnect called InfiniBand used in many supercomputers.

    For decades, the United States has developed most of the underlying technology that goes into the massive supercomputers and has built the largest, fastest machines at research laboratories and universities. Some of the top systems simulate the effects of nuclear weapons, while others predict the weather and aid in energy research.

    In 2002, the United States lost its crown as supercomputing kingpin for the first time in stunning fashion when Japan unveiled a machine with more horsepower than the top 20 American computers combined. The United States government responded in kind, forming groups to plot a comeback and pouring money into supercomputing projects. The United States regained its leadership status in 2004, and has kept it, until now.

    At the computing conference on Thursday in China, the researchers will discuss how they are using the new system for scientific research in fields like astrophysics and bio-molecular modeling. Tianhe-1A, which is housed in a building at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, can perform mathematical operations about 29 million times faster than one of the earliest supercomputers, built in 1976.

    For the record, it performs 2.5 times 10 to the 15th power mathematical operations per second.

    Mr. Dongarra said a long-running Chinese project to build chips to rival those from Intel and others remained under way and looked promising. “It’s not quite there yet, but it will be in a year or two,” he said.

    He also said that in November, when the list comes out, he expected a second Chinese computer to be in the top five, culminating years of investment.

    “The Japanese came out of nowhere and really caught people off guard,” Mr. Feng said. “With China, you could see this one coming.”

    Steven J. Wallach, a well-known computer designer, played down the importance of taking the top spot on the supercomputer rankings.

    “It’s interesting, but it’s like getting to the four-minute mile,” Mr. Wallach said. “The world didn’t stop. This is just a snapshot in time.”

    The research labs often spend weeks tuning their systems to perform well on the standard horsepower test. But just because a system can hammer through trillions of calculations per second does not mean it will do well on the specialized jobs that researchers want to use it for, Mr. Wallach added.

    The United States has plans in place to make much faster machines out of proprietary components and to advance the software used by these systems so that they are easy for researchers to use. But those computers remain years away, and for now, China is king.

    “They want to show they are No. 1 in the world, no matter what it is,” Mr. Wallach said. “I don’t blame them.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/technology/28compute.html?_r=1&ref=china

    I don't see the point, but congrats anyways.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
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  2. qwerrty
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    qwerrty FULL MEMBER

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    China Unveils Powerful, 2.5-petaflop Supercomputer

    By Agam Shah, IDG News

    China is unveiling a new supercomputer on Thursday that incorporates thousands of graphics chips and can reach a sustained performance of 2.5 petaflops, making it one of the fastest systems in the world.

    The supercomputer was built by China's National University of Defense Technology and is "the fastest system in China and in the world today," Nvidia claimed in a press release.

    Besides a sustained performance of 2.5 petaflops measured by the Linpack benchmark, it has a theoretical performance of 4.669 petaflops when all the GPUs are operational, according to an Nvidia spokesman. The benchmarks were provided by the National Supercomputing Center in China, he said.

    China has been moving up the supercomputing ranks in recent years. The last Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers, issued in June, lists the Nebulae supercomputer in Shenzhen as the world's second fastest. That system also combines Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs.

    The fastest supercomputer in the world according to the June list is the Jaguar system at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which can deliver 1.76 petaflops of sustained performance.

    The Tianhe-1A was announced two weeks before the release of the next Top500 list, so it is too early to say if it will be the fastest system on the list.

    China is looking to boost its computing resources and is doing a lot with hybrid supercomputer designs, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

    A number of supercomputers have combined GPUs with CPUs to boost performance. GPUs are specialized co-processors that are faster than traditional CPUs at executing certain tasks, like those used in scientific and mathematical applications.

    *ttp://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/209022/china_unveils_powerful_25petaflop_supercomputer.html
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  3. InPhilTraitor
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    InPhilTraitor BANNED

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    CPU from Intel, GPU from NVidia - OK the design is chinese. I think chinese are expecting undue credit on the coat-tails of American tech.
  4. jayron
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    jayron SENIOR MEMBER

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    Fastest Indian super computer also has dell equipments. Most super computers are built this way. This is an achievement.

    Congrats China!
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  5. xukxuk
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    xukxuk FULL MEMBER

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    one day you can do it as well
    really don't want to start a troll thread here
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  6. InPhilTraitor
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    InPhilTraitor BANNED

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    I understand designing super computers is an art unto itself, but this kind of fastest super computer is more like ego-stroking than technological breakthrough.
  7. Molawchai
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    Molawchai BANNED

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    Oh dear, does the "grapes" taste "sour" ?:lol:
    Too much jealousy will get you no where, perhaps you should be very pround of your "indigenous" Indian's super=computers.:rofl:
    Btw, congratulation to China for this great achivement:cheers:
    China Benchmarks World’s Fastest Super: 2.5 Petaflops Powered by GPUs | insideHPC.com
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  8. StingRoy
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    StingRoy SENIOR MEMBER

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    Building a super computer is easy, but harnessing its power is very difficult.

    Hope China is able to put it to a good use to benefit the mankind :tup:
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  9. qwerrty
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    qwerrty FULL MEMBER

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    according to hot chips..Chinese Chip Closes In on Intel, AMD - Technology Review

    - 8-core, 1ghz, godson 3b will be available in 2011
    - 16-core, 1ghz, Godson 3C ~ 2012 and chips will be using 28nm process



    an old PDF talking about about the more powerfull godson-t

    Godson-T, 64-core, 192GFLOPS

    [​IMG]

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
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  10. below_freezing
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    below_freezing ELITE MEMBER

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    building a supercomputer is not easy. why don't you try it? get a few hundred friends to link their computers up and see if it can be a supercomputer.
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  11. TechLahore
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    TechLahore FULL MEMBER

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    Your comment and accusation is uncalled for. Are you sure you understand the subject well enough to take this position?

    If you read the NYT piece, it clearly outlines that the significant Chinese innovation is the development of an interconnect - which has historically been the biggest bottleneck in parallel supercomputer performance - that runs at twice the speed of an Infiniband interconnect.

    Also, the Chinese have been developing the Loongson and Godson processors for quite a while now. These processors now represent the most advanced manifestation of the MIPS core with a 16-core chip close to release.

    China's Loongson Processor Could Power First Natural-Born Chinese Supercomputer | Popular Science
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  12. justanobserver
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    justanobserver SENIOR MEMBER

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    And that is exactly what a Beowulf Cluster is :)

    We made one in college as part of a project, it can give commercial supercomps a run for their money
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  13. StingRoy
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    StingRoy SENIOR MEMBER

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    I have been involved already in a project building a super computer for a university in India, so I know a few things here and there.

    What I meant in my comment was that the programming is much more complex than the hardware and to harness the true power of the super computer cluster, you need massive parallelism between the synchronous threads and need a totally different thinking than what the traditional programming involves.
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  14. ThatDamnGood
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    ThatDamnGood FULL MEMBER

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    “What is scary about this is that the U.S. dominance in high-performance computing is at risk,” said Wu-chun Feng, a supercomputing expert and professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “One could argue that this hits the foundation of our economic future.”

    The US is f**king insolvent and is trying to default.
    What foundations of what economic future is there for the US?
  15. qwerrty
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    qwerrty FULL MEMBER

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    .......................
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