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UPDATED: June 18, 2013
China Builds World's Fastest Supercomputer

Chinese scientists announced Monday that China has once again built the world's fastest supercomputer, capable of performing 33.86 quadrillion operations per second, surpassing the U.S. Titan supercomputer.

The Tianhe-2, or Milkyway-2, has a peak performance speed of 54.9 quadrillion operations per second, according to the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), which built the computer.

This is the second time China has made it to the first place in the Top 500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. Tianhe-2's predecessor, Tianhe-1A, was the world's fastest supercomputer from November 2010 to June 2011, when it was surpassed by Japan's K computer.

Matching home-grown Feiteng-1500 CPUs as well as Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors, Tianhe-2 was almost twice as fast as the second computer, Titan, which is capable of running at 17.6 quadrillion operations per second.

Sequoia, another U.S.-developed supercomputer, ranked third in the list, followed by Japan's K computer.

Costing $100 million, Tianhe-2 is expected to be operational at the supercomputer center in Guangzhou City in south China's Guangdong Province later this year.

"Ranking is not so important," said Li Nan, spokesman of the Tianhe-2 project. "We are producing supercomputers with a fundamental purpose of providing a driving force for the construction of an innovation-oriented country and solutions to sciences that concern the future development of human beings."

Experts believed Tianhe-2 demonstrates that China has been developing its own chip technology, which will ensure that the country plays an important role in the world's high-performance computing (HPC).

Jack Dongarra, one of the editors of Top 500, said he was impressed with Tianhe-2's interconnect, operating system and software which are mainly Chinese.

"The HPC development has enhanced China's competitiveness," he said.

Rajeeb Hazra, Intel's vice president, said the production of Tianhe-2 will not only benefit Chinese sciences and industries, but also provide sound infrastructure for the growing global demands of big data processing.

The NUDT said it would produce a supercomputer performing 100 quadrillion operations per second by 2015 and further raise it by 10 times around 2020.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2013)

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