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The announcement Monday is a new milestone for Chinese supercomputer development and a further erosion of past U.S. dominance of the field.|
A Chinese supercomputer has topped a list of the world's fastest computers for the seventh straight year — and for the first time the winner uses only Chinese-designed processors instead of U.S. technology.
Even more striking is the fact that TaihuLight doesn't rely on Western hardware. In the past, the world’s fastest supercomputers have been built using U.S.-designed chips, with hardware from Intel or International Business Machines, or else silicon manufactured under license from Sun Microsystems. TaihuLight, however, uses Chinese-made processors.
Today’s news also delivers two blows to American supercomputer dominance. Notably, it's the first time that more of the world’s top 500 supercomputers are Chinese than American. China now boasts 167 systems in the rankings, while the U.S. has 165. No other country rivals either nation: third on the list is Japan, with 29 systems. China also leads the performance category, thanks to the No.1 and No.2 systems.
This year's champion is the Sunway TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, west of Shanghai, according to TOP500. It was developed by China's National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology using entirely Chinese-designed processors.
The TaihuLight is capable of 93 petaflops, or quadrillion calculations per second, according to TOP500.
Its top speed is about five times that of Oak Ridge's Titan, which uses Cray, NVIDIA and Opteron technology.
Other countries with computers in the Top 10 were Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
The TaihuLight is due to be introduced Tuesday at the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt by the director of the Wuxi center, Guangwen Yang.
Among countries with the most computers on the top 500 list, Germany was in fourth place with 26 systems, France was next with 18, followed by Britain with 12.
The TOP500 list is compiled by Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and Martin Meuer of ISC Group, Germany.
Its supercomputer ambitions show no signs of leveling off, either. Earlier this year, Chinese officials claimed that they plan to build a machine that can perform at least a quintillion operations per second by 2020—10 times that of TaihuLight.