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China Has Homemade Supercomputer Gain, With Own Chips


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China Has Homemade Supercomputer Gain, With Own Chips

By JOHN MARKOFF

Published: October 28, 2011

China has made its first supercomputer based on Chinese microprocessor chips, an advance that surprised high-performance computing specialists in the United States.

Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.

The announcement was made this week at a technical meeting held in Jinan, China, organized by industry and government organizations. The new machine, the Sunway BlueLight MPP, was installed in September at the National Supercomputer Center in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province in eastern China.

The Sunway system, which can perform about 1,000 trillion calculations per second — a petaflop — will probably rank among the 20 fastest computers in the world. More significantly, it is composed of 8,700 ShenWei SW1600 microprocessors, designed at a Chinese computer institute and manufactured in Shanghai.

Currently, the Chinese are about three generations behind the state-of-art chip making technologies used by world leaders such as the United States, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

“This is a bit of a surprise,” said Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee and a leader of the Top500 project, a list of the world’s fastest computers.

Last fall, another Chinese-based supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, created an international sensation when it was briefly ranked as the world’s fastest, before it was displaced in the spring by a rival Japanese machine, the K Computer, designed by Fujitsu. But the Tianhe was built from processor chips made by American companies, Intel and Nvidia, though its internal switching system was designed by Chinese engineers. Similarly, the K computer was based on Sparc chips, designed at Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley.

Dr. Dongarra said the Sunway’s theoretical peak performance was about 74 percent as fast as the fastest United States computer — the Jaguar supercomputer at the Department of Energy facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, made by Cray Inc. That machine is currently the third fastest on the list.

The Energy Department is planning three supercomputers that would run at 10 to 20 petaflops. And the United States is embarking on an effort to reach an exaflop, or one million trillion mathematical operations in a second, sometime before the end of the decade, though most computer scientists say the necessary technologies do not yet exist.

To build such a computer from existing components would require immense amounts of electricity — roughly the amount produced by a medium-size nuclear power plant. In contrast, Dr. Dongarra said it was intriguing that the power requirements of the new Chinese supercomputer were relatively modest — about one megawatt, according to reports from the technical conference. The Tianhe supercomputer consumes about four megawatts and the Jaguar about seven.

Photos of the new Sunway supercomputer reveal an elaborate water-cooling system that may be a significant advance in the design of the very fastest machines. “Getting this cooling technology correct is very, very difficult,” said Steven Wallach, chief scientist at Convey Computer, a supercomputer firm based in Richardson, Tex. “This tells me that this is a serious design. This cooling technology could scale to exaflop. They are in the hunt to win.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.c...ssor-chips.html

--END

Shy

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Why on Earth would it surprise anyone that China can make a modern supercomputer? They make the vast majority of our electronics for us. I don't remember the last time I installed a motherboard that didn't say "Made In China" on it... Even Silverstone power supplies are made in China... Granted Intel and AMD were still manufacturing CPU's in Malaysia the last time I checked, but why assume that the tech isn't available in China? All a microprocessor is is a miniature integrated circuit, with modifications for heat dispersal, and various other modifications necessary to miniaturize it. A transistor isn't exactly a complicated thing either, so all you have to do is figure out how to print lots of tiny transistors on a tiny circuit, and there's more than enough free info out there for them to get started now that they have so much of our tooling tech over there to make our stuff for us.

The fact that they can do it makes perfect sense. What will surprise me is if this supercomputer lasts for more than a year or two before it has some catastrophic failure. Manufacturing quality in China is usually not what it needs to be for high quality CPU's, so I expect there to be too many little issues (such as using the wrong combinations of metals or having too much of the wrong fillers in them) that will cause the parts to degrade too quickly. Making a microprocessor may not be difficult to figure out, but you have to make sure that you have all of the mixtures for your metal alloys and plastics and such exactly right in order to prevent major failures in the chips.

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Actually the complexity of CPU design is the only reason that design stayed here in the US. Intel CEO didn't want to outsource but said he couldn't ignore the costs differences anymore and was finally forced to outsource manufacturing overseas but that the complexity of the cpu designs could not be because there was no one with the skill sets to do it at the time.

But that was many years ago and that may not really be the case anymore. Many Countries now spend a lot of time and money educating engineers in all kinds of high tech design and operation.

I wouldn't sell China too short...

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But that was many years ago and that may not really be the case anymore. Many Countries now spend a lot of time and money educating engineers in all kinds of high tech design and operation.

I wouldn't sell China too short...

Yeah, there are some pretty smart Chinese. Most of the quality control issues in China are not due to their intelligence, but merely the fact that they are often cutting corners and using cheaper materials/fillers/etc.

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Yeah, there are some pretty smart Chinese. Most of the quality control issues in China are not due to their intelligence, but merely the fact that they are often cutting corners and using cheaper materials/fillers/etc.

There was a time when China was THE LEADER in technology. We owe much of what we know Today to the Han, Song, Yuan, Chin and other dynasties. Paper, ships, weaponry, chemistry, the list is long. Spend a little time watching the Discovery sponsored series What the Ancients Knew - The Chinese and you'll begin to grasp the breadth of it all. I find information on Chinese Junks amazing with their associated ship building techniques that were copied all around the world. The Chinese most likely beat Columbus by some 70 years in discovering North America and remember Native American's DNA (haplogroup Q) share much in common with the Chinese.

However that was the past and this is now. There is little or no inventive spirit since Mao Tse-Tung and other leaders in the last half millennium or so. In fact, the leadership has diminished the intelligentsia. In the past half century or so there has been a shift in the leadership's thoughts on pure communism and has started to lean in the direction of highly controlled economic reforms with stringent controls on religion (such as the Falun Gong) and free thought. In the present society the Chinese regime has sought world domination through intellectual and industrial espionage and theft. Why reinvent the wheel when you can steal the plans? Do NOT forget

. Such a society is not going to leap-frog over more technological countries in electronics in just a few decades.

Over the past several years I have read both public information and <censored> information on the subject matter and the conclusion is grim.

I wish I could relate what the Chinese did to all the foreigners that visited China for the Olympics. However I can relay this because it is in the public domain Chinese Authorities Order Olympic Hotels To Install Spy Gear and that just scratches the surface. Basically a case of the Chinese data-mining foreign visitors.

Some other information in the "public" domain.

China’s Brazen Use of Cyber-Espionage

For Olympic Travelers, Concerns Over Gadget Surveillance in China

This one hits home (so to speak).

How a networking immigrant became a Chinese spy

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Stolen from whom? You can rest assured it won't be the US :lol: Enjoy the sunset!

Oh the things I'm not allowed to say on this forum. I could sum what I'm thinking up in three words, but I'm not allowed to say those here either. :lol:

I guess that's what blogs are for. :P

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Oh the things I'm not allowed to say on this forum. I could sum what I'm thinking up in three words, but I'm not allowed to say those here either. :lol:

I guess that's what blogs are for. :P

I'm with you 100% Arthur.. Dave and I already had a discussion about this in PM and our hands are tied because Samuel says it doesn't fall within the realm of politics.. More along the lines of free speech. :rolleyes:

Someone might put a birdie in someone's ear that if not for us "sun-setters" someone might be speaking German instead of UK English.. That'd be MY free speech. :P

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I said it DOES fall within the realm of politics, which according to forum rules here, are NOT TO BE DISCUSSED, the same as religion:

post-2103-0-89399200-1320161302.png

Here's what you said when I asked why you weren't yelling at remixed like you did me and Arthur in that other thread:

I don't think he got kicked off, at least not that I'm aware of (though I could be wrong). To be fair though, if we're going to allow any sort of "pro-American" political comments on this forum, then we have to allow contrary opinions as well. I know that forums aren't democracies, but fair is fair. I'm of the personal opinion that no such discussions should be taking place on the board, positive or negative because any time politics or religion comes up on a forum, it generally leads to arguments because they're subjects no one can agree on that they tend to get passionate about (similar to the Mac vs PC, which AV is best etc. etc. topics that end up going nowhere).

Loving my country, and defending it, is patriotic and apolitical..

post-35425-0-30545600-1320168992.gif

Steve

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  • Staff

The IF statement is the qualifier there and I expressed my opinion that politics should not be discussed (again, as dictated by forum policy). Also note that that conversation took place in private, and I never gave you permission to share it publicly (but leave it there now, otherwise this reply won't make sense).

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No problemo Dave, I didn't even post anything in this thread or warn anyone about anything, so I really don't know why I came up in the discussion at all :P.

I've never once banned or suspended any user for anything (I've flagged me some spammers though :P) and I've never once closed a thread or deleted a post or topic because of such a discussion. The only things I have ever done, is occasionally warn people to stay on topic (which I'm clearly not doing right now :P) and to stay away from political/religious discussions (and other topics, like piracy etc.) that are not allowed according to our site's TOU.

If I have failed to warn one user where I have warned others, I apologize, but I don't read every post or topic on the board thoroughly and I don't always take up the mantle of being the one to make the decision of what is allowed and what isn't (hence the no banning/suspending/deleting/closing) and I generally leave that stuff up to Ron to decide.

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Though I may not always share the opinion of BornSlippy, he has as much right to post his opinion as others.

I don't see his comment as any more political than some of the other posts here.

Let's all please just keep it on topic with the Technology and leave the politics out of it.

On another note, as brought up by Samuel.

No one may publicly post any Private Message or Email on the public forum. If you have concerns or issues about a Private Message you can contact an Administrator and we will try to resolve any issue if possible, but you cannot post any such Private Message on the board ever without the consent of the person and all parties involved in that message.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Though I may not always share the opinion of BornSlippy, he has as much right to post his opinion as others. I don't see his comment as any more political than some of the other posts here.

Thanks for the acknowledement.

What does need emphasising is that Malwarebytes is/should be an international forum and it's staff include many non-Americans. I for one (and I'm far from being the only one) are becoming fed up of the tiresome flag waving of the 'American Dad' contingent on this forum. We are not interested in your historical revisionism (you should read more and write less) or your redneck jingoism. I agree with Sam and I'm more than happy to adhere to those principles, somehow I don't think you can. If you don't like contrary opinions just say the word and I'm gone (It wouldn't be the first time :P )

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[...]

Let's all please just keep it on topic with the Technology and leave the politics out of it.

[...]

I for one (and I'm far from being the only one) are becoming fed up of the tiresome flag waving of the 'American Dad' contingent on this forum. We are not interested in your historical revisionism (you should read more and write less) or your redneck jingoism.

*huh*??

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I think that the no PMs rule should be posted in the rules topic. Not everyone is going to read this topic and figure it out.

On another note, there cannot be a post about foreign policy (unless someone in here lives in China, in which case it would be domestic policy) without bringing politics into it at some level. IMAO this was not particularly political, however politics at some level was inevitable.

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