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China invests 3 billion yuan to build world’s first exascale supercomputer by 2020

China invests 3 billion yuan to build world’s first exascale supercomputer by 2020

According to China
Daily
, the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen plans to build a
next-generation supercomputer that will be 10 times faster than the world’s
current speed champion.

“The investment is
likely to hit 3 billion yuan ($470.6 million), and key technologies for the
supercomputer are expected to be developed independently,” said Mr Wang
Zhenglu, Director of Project Management at the Center.

The supercomputer will be exascale, meaning that it will be
capable of making a quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeros) calculations per
second, much faster than today’s top supercomputer Sunway TaihuLight. The new
supercomputer is expected to be developed by 2020.

Mr Wang also said that the exascale supercomputer will play
an important role in promoting the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao
Greater Bay Area, especially in cloud computing, big data and artificial
intelligence. It will also work with traditional industries like steel and
mining to build business models, as well as creating smart-healthcare and smart
cities.

China has been increasingly investing in supercomputer
development and have raced ahead of the United States and Japan. According to
the latest biannual ranking of
the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers
, China’s Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2
are the world’s fastest and second-fastest machines in the world.

Sunway
TaihuLight
is a system housed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi
and developed by China’s National Research Center of Parallel Computer
Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) while Tianhe-2 (Milky
Way-2) is deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou a system and
is developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT).

Currently, China has six supercomputing centers across the
country, they are located in Tianjin, Guangzhou, Wuxi, Changsha, Jinan and
Shenzhen. Founded in 2009, the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen focuses
on high performance computing and cloud computing. Recently, the Center
purchased 420 more rack-mounted servers, 10 graphics processing servers and a
group of storage systems to support its work in cloud computing.

According to Associate Professor Wang Gang at
the College of Computer Science and Technology at Jilin
University
, China has an edge in hardware, but need more efforts to develop
tailor-made software for supercomputers to widen their applications.