A prototype computer that could become the world’s fastest began operating at the national supercomputer center in the East China city of Jinan on Sunday.
The exascale-class computer in the Shandong computer science center is capable of making more than a billion billion calculations a second, or 1,000 petaflops: “Exa” means a quintillion, or a billion billion.
The latest prototype in the Chinese Sunway supercomputer series has been under development for more than two years at science institutes including the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology, the newspaper Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday.
Although the prototype has not yet reached the goal of 1,000 petaflops, we’re planning to finish it by 2020, said Zhang Yunquan, the center director. “We’re very hopeful that it will top the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers by then.”
Almost all the components were domestically manufactured including the processor, core chip units, operating, cooling and storage systems, said Zhang, also a research fellow at the state key laboratory of computer architecture in the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ institute of computing technology.
“Our users can run test calculations on the prototype first and do optimizations. When the end product is finished, they can quickly use its vast capacity,” Zhang said. The center would also improve the prototype as issues arose during testing, he noted.
For the first time in China, the Sunway supercomputer has constructed a software eco-chain capable of simultaneously operating massive artificially intelligent applications including chess, medical imaging recognition and translation, the Beijing-based science newspaper reported.
A supercomputer can work on data from ocean exploration, meteorology, information security, space exploration, new energy and materials, modern agriculture and advanced manufacturing, the report said.
In June, the US reportedly reclaimed the title of world’s most powerful supercomputer from China.
The Summit supercomputer can perform 200,000 trillion calculations a second, or 200 petaflops, breaking the record set by China’s top-ranked Sunway TaihuLight with its processing capacity of about 125.4 petaflops, according to the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Xinhua News Agency reported in June.