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World's First Exascale Supercomputer Will Help Boost China's Growing Sea Power

Chinese nuclear submarine

Experts say an exascale computer would analyze the streams of data generated every second by Chinese vessels, naval outposts, and unmanned monitoring facilities.

Credit: China Daily Mail

China is planning to boost its computing power tenfold within a couple of years by building a new generation supercomputer.

An Hong, professor of computer science with the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei and a member of a committee advising the central government on high performance computer development, says the world's first exascale computer would have a dedicated mission of helping China's maritime expansion.

An says the machine could be finished as soon as 2019. Three independent supercomputer manufacturers on the mainland are competing for the contract. The authorities are looking to pick a design that not only offers a high performance but will be ready for immediate use once built. The budget for the project is expected to be between one and two billion yuan (US$150 million-US$300 million).

"The most important question to us is not whether China can build an exascale computer, or how fast, but why," An says.

"There is indeed a race among nations on supercomputers, but this is not our concern. Our concern is the ocean," she says.

From South China Morning Post
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