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China Now Home to World's Most Powerful Homemade Supercomputer

Recent supercomputer rankings have revealed that China not only continues to top this list but is now doing so with 100% domestic technology.

Over the past 15 years, China has made significant strides in everything from military technology to building techniques. But while these advances are at the forefront of public consciousness, there are some which are hidden behind the scenes. One such development is that of the world’s fastest supercomputer located in the city of Wuxi, two hours from Shanghai.

According to the International Business Times, Wuxi is home to the Chinese Supercomputing Center where the country’s most powerful computers are housed. Here, China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer previously broke international records en route to becoming the world’s most powerful, achieving speeds of 33.86 petaflops. The new SW26010 chip blows its predecessor out of the water with speeds reaching 125.4 petaflops.

What makes things different this time beyond pure speed is that the computer was made entirely from domestically produced chipsets.

However the drive for locally sourced components comes out of necessity as much as desire. In addition to US$152 billion in government funding for the domestic chip industry between now and 2025, last year the US blocked the sale of high-end American processors to the world’s most populous country. When the embargo began in April 2015, the US Department of Commerce cited "a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States" as its rationale.

According to the rankings compiled by Top500, China (167) beat out the US (165) for the first time based on total number of supercomputers. Third-place Japan lagged far behind with just 29. 

[Photo via South China Morning Post]

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