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IBM Warns of China Closing the Supercomputer Gap

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the big-blue-vs-big-red dept.

Supercomputing 238

eldavojohn writes "China is digging a massive hole to house a computer building with the intent of usurping the United States' lead in the field of supercomputing, claims IBM. As of earlier this year, Oak Ridge Lab was beating China's Shenzhen Center. But now, an IBM representative has said to a Washington, DC forum, 'You have sovereign nations making material investments of a tremendous magnitude to basically eat our lunch, eat our collective lunch.' China has long been a contender in this regard, and Europe and Japan have similar goals to build an exascale supercomputer. To achieve this by 2020, the US will need to focus on 'co-design,' where hardware is developed in tandem with every other aspect of the computer, from applications down to optics. This isn't the first time a 'space race' style supercomputing push has been spurred by international competitiveness."

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To compute what? (3, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33686940)

So everyone's trying to make a big, fast computer.

What's at stake? What does the winner win?

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33686970)

Life the universe and everything? would have thought that was obvious

Re:To compute what? (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33686978)

Exactly

The US is borrowing $1.5trillion a year, why should we borrow more money from the Chinese to build a supercomputer to "battle" them - over what?

Re:To compute what? (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687342)

Well duh! We need that kind of compute power to keep track of the debt.

Re:To compute what? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687368)

The dickwaving over who has the biggest supercomputer seems largely like hype stirred up to enhance IBM's shareholder value; but if you are going to make a dubiously sensible investment in expensive toys, doing it with borrowed money is, in some ways, preferable to doing it with real money.

The huge debts that sovereign nations tend to rack up trigger the same moral instincts that petty consumer debt does; but it isn't at all clear that they work anything like the same way, economically.

China: "Dear US, we are cashing in the giant pile of debt you owe us."
US: "Shucks, China, it looks like we spent all our money on increasingly elaborate pyramid schemes and shitty exurbs that nobody wants. Anyway, thanks for all the free stuff over the years, and I hope you don't find the sudden transition from high-employment export economy to moderate-unemployment internal economy too jarring... TTLGTG!"

Re:To compute what? (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687478)

China: "Dear US, we are cashing in the giant pile of debt you owe us." US: "Shucks, China, it looks like we spent all our money on increasingly elaborate pyramid schemes and shitty exurbs that nobody wants. Anyway, thanks for all the free stuff over the years, and I hope you don't find the sudden transition from high-employment export economy to moderate-unemployment internal economy too jarring... TTLGTG!"

I'm no economist, but I think you're spot on. It's not like China can "cash out" and repossess our SUV's if we can't pay. We simply can't pay, the cash is gone. All China can really do is stop lending to us. Which would be catastrophic for the US, and a smaller but still really big problem for the rest of the world.

The worst thing they could do is dump our debt to other countries for cheap, which I think would serve to devalue our currency quite a bit. Because so much of the global economy is based around the USD, this would be bad for everybody.

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687770)

It's more complicated than that...they're dependent on US buying from them to fund their own economy.

If the US goes down, it means they're holding a bag of junk they can't use.

Re:To compute what? (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687728)

The huge debts that sovereign nations tend to rack up trigger the same moral instincts that petty consumer debt does; but it isn't at all clear that they work anything like the same way, economically.

It should be clear and obvious they don't work the same way. After all, the US owes China in US dollars, not Euros, not RMB.

So it's more like an amusement park owing suppliers massive debts payable in amusement park tokens (except amusement park tokens cost more to make than "electronic" US dollars).

Or like you owing trillions in fuzzyfuzzyfungus dollars. You can create as many as you need. Sure the smart ones may never lend you money again, but maybe the smart ones wouldn't have lent you trillions payable in fuzzyfuzzyfungus dollars right? So the dumb ones might actually say "thank you!" when you go up to them and repay them :).

As long as the dollar remains the main currency used to trade oil and other commodities, the USA gets a cheap/free ride. The people who keep saying "the USA would be better off with the gold standard" should consider this and other important factors :).

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33686982)

Skynet.

(the CAPTCHA on this post is 'scaring' - seems oddly appropriate)

Re:To compute what? (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687070)

So everyone's trying to make a big, fast computer.

What's at stake?

Bragging rights? China beats IBM, we can no longer say that we're the most technologically advanced country and that's what I want. If that happens, maybe we'll get a boost in science education like post-Sputnik.

What does the winner win?

The best and brightest immigrants?

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687338)

So everyone's trying to make a big, fast computer.

What's at stake?

Bragging rights? China beats IBM, we can no longer say that we're the most technologically advanced country and that's what I want. If that happens, maybe we'll get a boost in science education like post-Sputnik.

What does the winner win?

The best and brightest immigrants?

But aren't they just slapping together a bunch of processors from western companies? Isn't it good for the US when China wants to spent tens of millions on American products?

Re:To compute what? (4, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687558)

You do know that Intel's biggest, best, and newest research center is in China, right? Also production facilities, I believe. Bet there are stipulations on where the processors are made if they go Intel.

But more importantly, there are reasons to have such big computers and it isn't bragging rights. That's what the managers use to measure by and get their bonuses, but the real value in a super is what you can calculate with it.

As they get more powerful, you can quit doing various approximations and do real calculations. Your simulations get more accurate. You can also do those simulations quicker and do more of them as you explore optimization strategies. While these computers are expensive, being able to trim years or decades off of research programs pays back many times more in first to market, market dominance, etc.

You can do things in simulations that aren't even practical or even feasible in real life. Depending on the problem, it can be that you cannot even simulate it at all without a computer of such a scale.

One thing to keep in mind is that the researchers who use these things, when they get more power, generally are able to make pretty amazing new discoveries. For anyone using these, the advantages are obvious. And so are the opportunites if they can get their hands on even more computing power.

The quest for more computing power is in no way simply a bragging rights kind of thing. There are huge advantages to being able to run on the fastest computer in the world.

Re:To compute what? (5, Insightful)

curmudgeous (710771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687440)

Bragging rights? China beats IBM, we can no longer say that we're the most technologically advanced country and that's what I want. If that happens, maybe we'll get a boost in science education like post-Sputnik.

IBM is not an American company. They've said so repeatedly, every time they been asked about all the thousands of jobs they've off-shored.

What they ARE, though, is a large multi-national trying to stir up fear and pseudo-patriotism in the hopes of snagging huge, profitable government contracts for projects to build things we really don't need right now.

Re:To compute what? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687884)

Thank you, Sir. I posted almost the same thing, before I scrolled down far enough to read your post. IBM is maybe Western, but certainly not American. Their ONLY loyalty is to the accumulation of wealth.

Re:To compute what? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687552)

China beats IBM, we can no longer say that we're the most technologically advanced country and that's what I want.

Most advanced? Crunching more floating points? Seriously...

What a bunch of two year old politics this is...

We're all living on the same planet, remember? I thought the internet was blurring borders...

Re:To compute what? (2, Insightful)

Hythlodaeus (411441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687704)

China beats IBM, we can no longer say that we're the most technologically advanced country and that's what I want. If that happens, maybe we'll get a boost in science education like post-Sputnik.

We don't need more science education (except maybe educating legislators). We need more science investment and employment to clear out the backlog of science postdocs that have been educated in numbers far in excess of jobs that require that sort of qualification.

Re:To compute what? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687882)

Well, that's the peace dividend for you. We used to "stockpile" physics PhDs like they were bomb warheads. The rate slacked off after 1970, picking up briefly during the Reagan administration.

But we still have the giant physicist factories fully manned because with tenure there isn't really an effective way to dismantle them.

Re:To compute what? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687858)

IBM isn't exactly "American" anyway. They would probably qualify as "Western", but they are a multinational corporation with no loyalty to the United States. They are just waving an American flag today, hoping that it will motivate some ignorant politicians to vote for something that IBM wants. Like, maybe funding for an even larger supercomputer. We really are world class chumps if we fall for that. Or, world class chimps. Whichever . . .

Re:To compute what? (2, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687158)

The biggest, baddest nuclear bombs, the deadliest engineered plagues, the shortest cryptography decryption times and the goodwill of all mankind (everybody is very very nice to you if you have the aforementioned weapons).

Re:To compute what? (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687220)

We already have bioweapons and nukes; what difference does it make when the warheads are a few megatons more powerful than before? We're all dead anyways. It sounds to me like this is more national penis comparison than deadly threat.

Re:To compute what? (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687182)

The ability to brute force the other guys crypto better.

Re:To compute what? (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687360)

are they actually brute forcing it, though? I always figured they had different, secret means of attacking the ciphertext. Possible ways that were designed into the algorithm to begin with... so it isn't so much a matter of brute computing power.

Re:To compute what? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687588)

You can't brute force a key without knowing the encryption technique in the first place, smartass ;)

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687812)

Assuming unlimited computing capacity, brute-forcing 256bit crypto would consume a theoretical minimum of 10^56 GWh of energy.

10^56 GWh also happens to be the total mass-energy of the observable universe.
In comparison, the three gorges dam produces 80,000 GWh per year.

Re:To compute what? (1)

Binder (2829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687190)

Primarily, bragging rights... but bragging rights on a global scale.

Re:To compute what? (3, Funny)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687224)

Shall we play a game?

Remember, the only winning move is not to play.

Re:To compute what? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687606)

How about thermonuclear war?

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687262)

So everyone's trying to make a big, fast computer.

What's at stake? What does the winner win?

If China wins, nobody. If the US wins, IBM :)

Re:To compute what? (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687280)

Colossus and Guardian are bored and need a new friend...

Seriously though, isn't more supercomputing power better? More better?

Re:To compute what? (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687484)

They win insurance [wikileaks.org] ... Or probably other interesting state secrets that are encrypted. Presuming there are some yet unknown-to-the-public-flaws in AES for example (and like with all algorithms there are [wikimedia.org] ) governments could possibly be able to decrypt these kind of files in a matter of years instead of billions. In which case it can be quite beneficial to be a month ahead of 'the other guys' with decryption, with some information a few extra petaflop (or soon exaflop) could mean a world of difference.

Re:To compute what? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687596)

So everyone's trying to make a big, fast computer.

What's at stake? What does the winner win?

What's at stake is nothing less than hundreds of million dollars and the winner gets to store that money in the bank. That's why IBM is trying to make anyone believe that there is some sort of supercomputer arms race going on between a hand full of rivals. By fanning a hand full of politician's need for nationalistic grandstanding they are in effect positioning themselves to receive a big chunk of tax money.

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687598)

Really? Just bragging rights? I'm not sure if you guys are trying to be +1 Funny or -1 Stupid. Computers are supposed to be our expertise. Here is a short, random list of things you can do with a large computer:

turbulent flow, shocks, complex fluids, plasmas, particle transport, seismic modeling, radiation hydrodynamics, astrophysics, nuclear data, fission, radchem, radiation detector design, nuclear forensics, thermonuclear burn, nuclear energy, nuclear reactor fuels, plasticity, ejecta, friction, the equation of state (from SciDAC [scidac.gov] )

That's what I found in 30 seconds googling; the list goes on (this doesn't even cover the work I do on supercomputers (subnuclear physics)), but I think you get the idea. There are a LOT of problems that can benefit from large amounts of computer power, and if China leads in computing, they'll have a big leg up on us in those fields.

Re:To compute what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687624)

Pride and dignity :)

Re:To compute what? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687646)

Transcendence

Re:To compute what? (1)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687776)

So everyone's trying to make a big, fast computer.

What's at stake? What does the winner win?

A big, fast computer

Nuke the site from orbit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33686954)

It's the only way to be sure.

Plus ca change.... (2, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33686962)

Apparently there is nothing new under the Sun. The reader of this PR to help IBM sell more of their HPC machines should read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_gap [wikipedia.org] first.

Capital S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687258)

Apparently there is nothing new under the Sun.

Of course not, since Sun is under Oracle now; they're not making any new acquisitions.

It's fair to question Oracle's commitment to the HPC market now that it owns Sun, though I'm not quite sure why you're bringing them up in this context. This seems mostly to be IBM angling for more HPC grant money.

Re:Plus ca change.... (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687268)

And don't forget the Bomber Gap [wikipedia.org] . Or the Doomsday Gap. Or the Mineshaft Gap [wikipedia.org] !

What do they exepect? (3, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33686976)

The US doesn't have a monopoly on smart people.

Those countries are sending their best and brightest to US universities to learn. Last I looked, they take the same classes as Americans - at least the Americans who are still studying that stuff.
When you offshore R&D to other countries, you spread knowledge around faster.
Why do I get the feeling the IBM is setting themselves up to receive Government handouts.

Re:What do they exepect? (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687044)

If they want handouts, they should go to a government that actually has money (hint - it isn't the US).

Re:What do they exepect? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687062)

Neither does China.

Re:What do they exepect? (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687382)

China is loaded with it. WHat they are not doing is spending it on Western companies. GE found that out and is trying to get back in good with the USA. I suspect that IBM is also figuring that out.

Re:What do they exepect? (5, Insightful)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687384)

IBM is entitled to all the handouts they want - it's only the unemployed and welfare mothers that aren't entitled to handouts. Christ are you some kind of socialist?

Re:What do they exepect? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687580)

But US smart people are studying law & finance. Their smart people are studying computers & engineering.

Re:What do they exepect? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687594)

"The US doesn't have a monopoly on smart people......Why do I get the feeling the IBM is setting themselves up to receive Government handouts."

Indeed, why did the US and IBM not starve to death when Japan was "eating their lunch [wikipedia.org] for a couple of years?

"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687002)

Supercomputers are cool, but I really don't care which country has the largest. It's a bit sad to be honest. How are China going to "eat [USA's] lunch" with a big supercomputer (which in supercomputing terms seems to just involve throwing more money at it to add in even more interconnects and processors - not exactly very innovative)? By beating them at Chess?

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (2, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687106)

I understand IBM did some nice marketing in the "HPC is for Chess" area, but "surprise!": real world HPC is not used for chess playing.

It's for serious research, nowadays mostly nukes (design stuff to go BOOM) and flow modelation (climate research, stealth research, building better cars,planes and other machines), biochemistry (genetic engineering), cryptography and probably dozens of others things.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687612)

I know that supercomputers are useful things, but I suspect that whoever has the fastest does not matter too much. Having two smaller supercomputers would still be useful for example. I don't know much about it but I assume that you don't usually use the whole supercomputer for just one task - you probably are often running several at once?

I do IBM and the US should keep pushing forward, but saying they should do something simply because China is also doing it is the thing that is bothering me. As someone else pointed out though, it's all politics, and politicians are just the type of people that care about "keeping up with the Joneses" type thing, so it is a smart move on IBM's part..

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687188)

They'll be eating IBM's lunch, not that of the US. IBM really doesn't care about the US as long as they still have money. What they don't want is the US buying supercomputer hardware or expertise from other companies.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687536)

Ah so....the other show drops!

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687232)

China might make a computer capable of beating a five year old at Go.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687278)

Dude, you know that if Big Blue lost to Tao Rhuo-Hong in Chess, the US would have a major PR blow and toothless idiots that don't know Chess from Checkers would be afraid to sleep at night over worry that we're losing to the Chinese, and can we please spend more money to build better Chess-playing computers "CUZ THESE COLORS DON'T RUN!"

If I were IBM, I'd lobby on those fears to get the US to fund my R&D too. Not a good idea from a taxpayer's perspective, but evilly brilliant from IBM's perspective.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (-1, Flamebait)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687400)

Scary: They have this amazing new supercompoter OS called Windows HPC. That professionally designed supercompute OS is going to totally dominate the 95% of supers that now muddle along with some OS designed by hobbyists.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687668)

[ComicBookGuy saying="Most powerful Blue Screen ever!" /]

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687672)

That must be why Linux dominates the top 10 fastest super computers in the planet, because Windows is designed by professionals who clearly know better.

FAIL.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687800)

This is your whoosh: Whoosh.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687842)

With all the Microshit fanboyism these days (where the hell did that come from anyway, "oh whoosh; Redmond astrocrew") you can't ever be sure about it.

Re:"My supercomputer is bigger than yours!" (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687870)

How are China going to "eat [USA's] lunch"

Your comment reminds me of an old Justin Wilson Cajun joke. A Cajun sends his son to college, and when the kid comes home on break the old Cajun asks him "so, whad'ya larn, boy?"

The student thinks a second and says "PI R square".

The old man is indignant. "What kind o' tomfoolery is they teachin'? Pie are ROUND, cornbread are square!"

Government Bailout for IBM (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687020)

In other words, IBM wants the government to give them lots of cash so they can ship more jobs over to India.

Re:Government Bailout for IBM (2, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687202)

Why is it a bailout? Why do people just generically call things they don't like a bailout? A bailout implies just a handout to keep something from failing. This doesn't sound like a bailout. This sounds like a an investment, and for that money, we'll get a more powerful supercomputer and the knowledge and research and know-how that comes with it.

Re:Government Bailout for IBM (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687418)

It is not an investment when the tech and jobs are shipped overseas to places like CHina, but the same companies that are screaming about this.

Re:Government Bailout for IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687774)

It's a bailout because IBM wants money from the government to do something that in a free market they should be doing themselves. They don't want to have to slowest computer, then invest some of those billions they make every year into supercomputer research. But that would cut into shareholders profits so it won't happen.

eh (-1, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687084)

What do you expect after having 3 decades of US policy decided mostly by low-tax, small-government fanatics?

Re:eh (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687290)

(sigh)

Low taxes do NOT mean low government revenue. The US government pulled in more money AFTER Bush's tax cuts than any time in history. (unfortunately, they spent even more, but that's a different story)

From USA Today [usatoday.com] , Feb 12, 2007:

The continued strong growth in revenues reflects the record profits corporations have been recording in recent years and low levels of unemployment, which means more Americans are working and paying taxes.

(It's amazing how short our memories are. All I hear about today is how bad the economy was under Bush, yet from 2003-2007, we were booming, but no one care remember anything more than 2 years back)

See: Laffer Curve.

Re:eh (2, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687456)

(It's amazing how short our memories are. All I hear about today is how bad the economy was under Bush, yet from 2003-2007, we were booming, but no one care remember anything more than 2 years back)

It's also convenient to forget that in 2007, the Democrats took control of Congress, and that things really went south afterward. The Executive Branch has a lot of power (and perhaps more than originally intended), but legislation originates in the House of Representatives. Nothing substantial can occur without their approval.

Is there truly a direct cause-effect relationship, with no time lag? I don't think so. But, if one is going to blame the Bush administration for everything that occurred under its watch and (so far) two years later, then one has to also acknowledge that the Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress for the past 4 years.

Re:eh (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687468)

The US wasn't booming. They were simply borrowing metric tons of money: it's easy to have a "boom" with borrowed money, unfortunately sooner or later you have to pay the money back....

The current crisis (no it's not over, not for a long time) was caused by these exact years you cite.

Re:eh (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687526)

See: Laffer Curve.

And like most people who cite the Laffer Curve without really understanding what it is, you are missing the very basic fact (reflected in its actual name) that it is a CURVE. All the Laffer Curve represents is that there is some tax rate at which tax revenues are maximized. It doesn't state that it is a high or a low rate. Those economists who have attempted to quantify that optimal tax rate have tended to reach values far higher than what slashdot Laffer Curve advocates actually think is a good idea. Or would you like a 78.8% tax rate as one economist calculated?

Your cite to the august economics journal USA Today notwithstanding, the economy wasn't "booming" from 2003-2007; some people made a lot of money, but real wages fell during that time period. The illusion of prosperity isn't prosperity. And tax revenues generally rise every year outside a recession, so "record levels" isn't really that impressive.

Re:eh (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687946)

See: Laffer Curve.

And like most people who cite the Laffer Curve without really understanding what it is, you are missing the very basic fact (reflected in its actual name) that it is a CURVE. All the Laffer Curve represents is that there is some tax rate at which tax revenues are maximized. It doesn't state that it is a high or a low rate.

You are absolutely correct. Also, the optimum rate today may not be the optimum rate tomorrow. However, when taxes were lower, government revenues were higher, meaning that we are on the right side of the peak. ("right" meaning direction, not "correct")

Your cite to the august economics journal USA Today notwithstanding, the economy wasn't "booming" from 2003-2007; some people made a lot of money, but real wages fell during that time period. The illusion of prosperity isn't prosperity. And tax revenues generally rise every year outside a recession, so "record levels" isn't really that impressive.

4% unemployment is better than 10% unemployment. Falling wages is much better than NO wages. I also believe the wages were better in '06 than they are today, especially if you consider the 18 million more people that are actually making wages.

Besides, as unemployment falls, wages will fall to some degree with it. High wage earners are usually not the ones that are unemployed. A falling unemployment rate means that people who were unemployed are finding jobs. People that find jobs who are not working at the time usually take what they can get and usually don't demand what they were making at their last job.

Falling wages does not mean that people who made X at job Y are making less than X today at job Y. Wages rarely fall for people who are working the same job. However, when people change jobs or leave unemployment, they are likely to make less money starting out.

Re:eh (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687772)

You mean artificialy booming due to the artificial stock boost morfine. The price for detoxing back to reality is extremely high, but yeah; it was totaly booming. NOT. It made the fscking economy weak as hell. Not to mention destroy it.

Oh hello new recession we're climbing out of.

Get lost.

If they are worried... (5, Insightful)

lenroc (632180) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687126)

If they're worried about China advancing in computer technology, maybe they shouldn't build research labs there! [ibm.com]

Re:If they are worried... (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687458)

Nicely done.

Since when does IBM care about the U.S.? (3, Insightful)

swamp boy (151038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687136)

Really, since when does IBM care about what happens in the U.S.? Aren't they the same company that recently told some of their top researchers that they could either move to China, Poland, or a couple of other countries on their own dime and work for 'local wages' or be out of a job?

Re:Since when does IBM care about the U.S.? (3, Informative)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687204)

Really, since when does IBM care about what happens in the U.S.?

Since they sell the vast majority of their HPCs in the US.

Re:Since when does IBM care about the U.S.? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687226)

Let me translate IBM's statement into a more sincere, less carefully spun, form, and you'll see why an uncaring profit-maximizing multinational is wrapping itself in the flag:

PR: "But now, an IBM representative has said to a Washington, DC forum, 'You have sovereign nations making material investments of a tremendous magnitude to basically eat our lunch, eat our collective lunch.'"

Translation: "But now, an IBM lobbyist has said to a Washington, DC forum 'Other countries are doling out sweetheart contracts to manufacturers and designers of expensive computers. Give us a giant pile of money or the chinks win."

Re:Since when does IBM care about the U.S.? (4, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687234)

Ah, but they may get some coveted welfare, I mean, defense spending out of this, so that's a possible reason for it.

Re:Since when does IBM care about the U.S.? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687504)

Yeah it's all about funding. Seriously, IBM is an "International" company, that's what the "I" stands for....so why all the worry IBM. Oh yeah you want money to build your souped up super computer.

Here's a thought, BUILD IT YOURSELF!

Re:Since when does IBM care about the U.S.? (1)

nickmalthus (972450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687494)

This is only a ploy to trigger Federal spending on IBM hardware by politicians who publicly and vigorously support national pride but privately pledge allegiance to the corporatist policies that are destroying this country. This wouldn't be the first time IBM played both side. Never forget their business dealings with the Nazis and how they put profit over humanity.

Remember the 1980s? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687142)

I also remember the 1980s supercomputer, artificial intelligence race with Japan. What a load!

Re:Remember the 1980s? (2, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687256)

Remember the missile gap cries before then? "We can only kill them ten times over; they can kill us 11 times over! We need to close the missile gap!"

heh... (1)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687198)

What do we need a super computer for? Just offer up a tax credit for participating in distributed computing ;) Anyhow, who cares if China has the fastest super computer. What are they going to do with it that is so threatening?

Re:heh... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687450)

They have already restarted nuke warhead production. They have several sites that are large ground-based lasers. They are working on anti-sat tech. They are building 1-2 new nuke boomers and 1-2 new nuke attack subs each year. They are now threatening Japan when japan holds a captain that rammed 2 of their ships on disputed ground. And you ask exactly what China is going to do with it?

Re:heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687554)

Well, quite clearly, not having the most powerful computer hasn't hinder them in those pursuits.

Computers have been successfully simulating nuclear detonations since the 1970s.

So, again... what does it matter?

Re:heh... (1)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687570)

Taunt us to death while their super computer can run Crysis at 120fps and ours can only run it at 100fps? Perhaps use the thing to spell check their products, manuals, and online stores... finally allowing them to extinguish the last of our economy?

Nerd Wars (2, Funny)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687210)

Nerd Wars going global. I don't see any other explanation.

IBM says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687272)

IBM says, "hey! China is going to beat you, you better start buying all my stuff fast!"

Hmm...

Nice marketing strategy (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687276)

You have to hand it to IBM's marketing team... Nice strategy.

Making the government buy more stuff by effectively injecting FUD. I really can't think of a better way to make people buy stuff without knowing what they need it for.

Re:Nice marketing strategy (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687396)

Making the government buy more stuff by effectively injecting FUD.

      Yeah. You keep telling yourself that it's FUD, just like the ultra quiet Chinese sub that popped to the surface 700 yards from the USS Kitty Hawk surprising the hell out of it while it was on exercise, like the Chinese anti-satellite program, like the Chinese having the most impressive engineering and transportation projects this century (as opposed to the most impressive rhetoric and debt), like the millions of people in the largest US cities would be considered a rounding error in big Chinese cities, like the Chinese space program, yeah this is just FUD. Go ahead and have that nap, Mr. Hare, there is NO WAY the tortoise will win the race.

Re:Nice marketing strategy (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687560)

The sad thing is, that as long as humans are stupid enough to think about their nations in terms of supremacy, we will really never evolve past a continuum of wars.

But the most amusing thing is how Americans seem to take it for granted that the USA should always be the best at everything.

I'm not trying to take sides or say how it should be. These are just general observations that seem to contribute to my inevitable fall into ever deeper cynicism. That being said, the longer I live the more convinced I am as broken as everyone else.

Re:Nice marketing strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687730)

> just like the ultra quiet Chinese sub that popped to the surface 700 yards from the USS Kitty Hawk

Anti-submarine warfare is like poker; you can never quite be sure who is bluffing.

The commander of the Chinese submarine still doesn't know whether the CVBG's SSN was tracking him on passive sonar. Nor does he know if the group escorts had him pegged.

There is too much good intel to be collected to give away that sort of information to a potential enemy. Why not lure him in with feigned ignorance and gain even more information about his capabilities?

SOP during the cold war was to string an SS / SSK along until it had to break surface to snorkel. By doing so, and compiling data, one could build an accurate picture of the submarine's endurance.

Going to active sonar and acknowledging the bugger would result in him turning-away whilst also disclosing the capabilities of one's passive sonar to detect him.

IBM, helping China beat America (5, Insightful)

Kagato (116051) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687350)

This is the same company that sold most of it's commodity hardware business to Red China. The same company that's heavily investing in research... in China and India. The same company that continued to sell the Nazi's computing hardware used against allied forces and for managing the Holocaust via their their Brazilian unit. IBM has had a long history of selling out America in order to maximize profits.

Re:IBM, helping China beat America (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687748)

Kagato says: "The same company that continued to sell the Nazi's computing hardware used against allied forces..."

Really?... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC [wikipedia.org]

Yes, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687944)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_Holocaust

SO, (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687352)

the company that has been taking all of the US jobs AND TECH, and sending these to China and India SUDDENLY wants US to spend money on super computers. ANd exactly where would these be built at? Why CHINA.

IBM was ran by traitors in WWII. I see it still is.

no one else buying powerPC chips? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687460)

are these nations using AMD CPU's like a lot of other supercomputers out there? sounds like IBM is looking for some gubment money to buy up PowerPC CPU's that they can't sell

Follow the money... (1)

jimpop (27817) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687462)

Who invests in China? Who has Labs in China? This situation was inevitable, and it is based on decisions made years ago.

creators report end of corepirate 'franchising' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33687510)

you call this weather?

does evil never sleep? or, did we ever REALLY have a 'vote' on anything?

as far as we can tell, there has been no (0) public minded political representation here (US) in more than 20 years, which is as long as we've been watching 'it' (the process). so, in order to to maintain taxation without representation..... they must falsify the already phony #s over&over. phewww. that's how we feel. that's US. many/most of us anyway. it's quite doubtful any invisible/imaginary 'enemy' could out do our own fauxking murder & mayhem system, both at home & around the (now under reported) shaking globe.

they treat us as though we came from monkeys, & they ?didn't?, as evidenced by their tendency to encourage us to do/use less, while they continue to suck DOWn/waste/destroy immeasurable amounts of stuff, & feast on nubile virgins (of both sexes) in their palatial conclaves, surrounded by armies of (infinitely corrupted) hired goons. paid for by.... there we (?monkeys?) go again.

the search (for one honest/selfless person) continues;
google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=weather+manipulation

google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=bush+cheney+wolfowitz+oil+rumsfeld+wmd+blair+obama+weather+authors

modifying this search makes it even more interesting/scary. it's likely just a coincidence that the same names turn up together in 1000's of documents re: murder, mayhem & just generalized felonious underhandedness.

meanwhile (as it may take a while longer to finish wrecking this place); the corepirate nazi illuminati is always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our ?creators?, who may not be what we were forced to (not) believe in. why would descendants of monkeys need to worship anything (except maybe the 400 lb/megaton 'gorilla')? the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there? cup of primordial ooze we are/anyone?

Usurping ? (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687698)

IBM and the USA have a divine right to building the largest supercomputer or something?

Since When??? (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687768)

Since when did the "Indian Business Machine" cared about America? When there is government contracts to be won by scare-mongering?
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