Chinese supercomputer named world's fastest

The Tianhe-1A, which means meaning Milky Way is capable of 2.67 quadrillions of computing operations per second, earning it the number one spot in the Top 500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers released yesterday.

Tianhe-1A was followed by the US-made Cray XT5 "Jaguar" system at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee, which had held the top spot earlier.

The Jaguar performs at 1.75 quadrillions per second, 92 per cent slower than the Tianhe-1A, running Linpack, the benchmark used to officially determine the speed of supercomputers.

China also occupied the third place with Nebulae, which is installed in the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen.

Jack Dongarra, a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and supervisor of the TOP500 list, told the official Xinhua news agency, "It's more of a sign that China is serious in pursuing high performance computing to aid the growth of science, engineering and economic competitiveness."

"The long-term implication for the US is that China is seriously interested in high performance computing, and is developing and deploying computing resources," said Dongarra, who lead research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Among the world's most powerful 100, China holds five positions, while out of the 500 list, China-made systems occupy at least 40 slots.

Tianhe-1A, is estimated to have cost 600 million yuan (USD 90.4 million) and was developed by the Changsha-based National University of Defence Technology.
It employs 14,336 Intel Xeon X5670 central processing units (CPU) and 7,168 NVidia Tesla M2050 graphic processing units (GPU), as well as more than 2,000 home-grown Feiteng CPUs.

Zhang Yunquan, a lead computing scientist at the Chinese Academy of Science, told Xinhua, "The international supercomputing competition is extremely fierce and it's very difficult for China to hold the top position for more than one year.

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