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China to Build More Supercomputers With Homegrown Chips


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Sunway BlueLight supercomputer

China's Sunway BlueLight uses 8,704 Shenwei 1600 microprocessors, which gives the supercomputer a theoretical speed of 1.07 petaflops.

Credit: ittc.co.za

China will rely less on chips made by foreign companies for its supercomputers over the next five years, says the National Supercomputer Center's Pan Jingshan.

In October, China unveiled its first supercomputer based entirely on domestically-developed microprocessors. The Sunway BlueLight has a sustained performance of 0.79 petaflops when measured with the Linpack benchmark, which would place it 13th on the world's Top 500 supercomputing list.

In 2006, government authorities called for research in petaflop supercomputers built with "new foundational concepts." The Sunway BlueLight uses 8,704 Shenwei 1600 microprocessors, which gives the supercomputer a theoretical speed of 1.07 petaflops. According to reports and photos from the Chinese press, the Shenwei 1600 microprocessor is built with 16 cores, has a clock speed of up to 1.2 GHz, and uses a reduced instruction set computing architecture.

University of Tennessee computer scientist Jack Dongarra notes that the chip has a 65 nanometer design process and calls its design world class. "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 says.

From IDG News Service
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