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China Tops List of Fastest Computers Again

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A processor used in the Sunway TaihuLight System, the Chinese supercomputer ranked as the worlds fastest.

China dominates the Top500 biannual ranking of the worlds 500 fastest supercomputers.

Credit: Li Xiang/Xinhua, via Associated Press

For the seventh straight time China has dominated the Top500, the biannual list of the world's fastest supercomputers.

China once again has the largest number of systems among the Top500, and for the first time the world's fastest supercomputer employs Chinese-manufactured microprocessors instead of Intel chips.

The latest Top500 lists 167 Chinese systems versus 165 U.S. systems, and China also leads in terms of total processing power.

Factors underlying the slippage of the U.S. in the Top500 include slowing federal supercomputing support due to debates on the level of government spending on basic scientific research, and opposition to funding for industrial advancement with no direct relation to national security.

The University of Tennessee's Jack Dongarra also cites last year's blockage of the sale of advanced computer chips to China for security reasons as another likely contributor to the acceleration of the development of China's own technology.

Intel still supplied the chips for 91% of the computers on the Top500, while the Semiconductor Industry Association says the U.S. finally appears to be taking the international competitive threat seriously.

Dongarra warns the U.S. effort to develop exascale computing could be overtaken by the Chinese effort due to funding shortfalls and technology challenges.

From The New York Times
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