China to build more supercomputers with homegrown chips
The Sunway BlueLight is China's first to use domestically developed microprocessors
IDG News Service - China is planning more supercomputers with homegrown chips in order to meet government demands, according to a Chinese researcher involved in the country's high performance computing.
Last month, China's National Supercomputer Center in Jinan unveiled the Sunway BlueLight, the country's first supercomputer based entirely on domestically- developed microprocessors. The Sunway BlueLight has a sustained performance of 0.79 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second) when measured with the Linpack benchmark, which could place it at number 13 in the world's top 500 supercomputing list.
Over the next five years, China is expected to develop more supercomputers using homegrown chips, said Pan Jingshan, an assistant director at the National Supercomputer Center in Jinan. In 2006, government authorities outlined the country's future scientific development plans, which called for research in petaflop supercomputers built with "new foundational concepts".
Part of the center's goal in building the supercomputer was to raise China's technological competitiveness, Pan said. "Building supercomputers is the result from China and the local government's requirements. There definitely will appear more supercomputers using domestic CPUs," he said.
The Sunway BlueLight uses 8,704 "Shenwei 1600" microprocessors, giving the supercomputer a theoretical peak speed of 1.07 petaflops. The Sunway BlueLight has a power consumption of 1 megawatt. Pan, however, did not have details on the microprocessors used. Other computer scientists involved with its construction were also contacted, but could not be reached for comment.
Photos and reports from local Chinese press, however, show designs of the Shenwei 1600 microprocessor. According to the photos, the chips are built with 16 cores, and have a clock speed from 0.975 to 1.2 GHz. The chips also use a RISC (reduced instruction set computing) architecture. Photos can be found here.
Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee who also compiles the top 500 supercomputing list, noted that the Shenwei 1600 chip was built with a 65 nano-meter design process. "The design is world class," he said in an e-mail. "Putting 16 cores, at low power, in a 65 nanometer design is very good."
In comparison, Intel's Core i7-900 chip series use a 32 nanometer design process, giving it four times the number of transistors, he said.
"For such a critical technology as computer chips I would guess that the Chinese would not like to be dependent on Western technology, just as the U.S. would not like to be dependent on foreign technology," Dongarra said.
This month, a Chinese computing association released its own list for the top supercomputers in the country. The Sunway BlueLight took second place, putting it behind the Tianhe-1A, which briefly grabbed the top spot for world's fastest supercomputer in 2010.
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Why Projects Fail
- CIOs are expected to deliver more projects that transform business, and do so on time, on budget and with limited resources.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings
- This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools
- The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution
- In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence... All Government IT White Papers
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- How to Protect Enterprise Data Yet Enable Secure Access for End Users Learn how BYOD, Big Data and the use of rogue applications and devices is putting corporate data at risk, best practices from IT...
- All Government IT Webcasts