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China Makes World's Fastest Supercomputer

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-can-it-run-wolf3d dept.

Supercomputing 222

shmG writes "China has replaced the United States as the maker of the world's fastest supercomputer. A Chinese research center has made the world's faster super computer — named as Tianhe-1A, which was released at a national conference on high-performance computers (HPC) in China. Made at a cost of over $88 million, Tianhe-1A is theoretically able to do more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second (one petaflop) at peak speed. Tianhe-1A 's peak performance reaches 1.206 petaflops, and it runs at 563.1 teraflops (1,000 teraflops is equal to one petaflop) on the Linpack benchmark."

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Does it run Linux? (3, Funny)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048108)

But does it run (Red Flag) Linux?

Re:Does it run Linux? (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048130)

But does it run (Red Flag) Linux?

And can it run *Flash?



* run Flash without using > 50% of the CPU's

Re:Does it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048278)

And can it run *Flash...

In *Firefox?



* for more than two hours without screeching to a halt.

Re:Does it run Linux? (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048516)

If it runs Linux, yes

FF on Windows sucks

Re:Does it run Linux? (-1, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048600)

Yet FF on Windows with noscript, AdBlock Plus, and FlashBlock has kept me 100% secure against bullshit I didn't explicitly ask for.

In the meantime, you have to worry about kernel exploits and package dependency exploits.

Why, yes, I run windows, three customized embedded Linux distros, MenuetOS, Unix, OS/400, and good-old DOS. Right tool for the job, and all that. Can't design ultra-complex systems at maximum sped without using the proper speedy tools for the proper speed-dependent job.

Re:Does it run Linux? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048740)

You don't have to worry about kernel exploits on Windows? Also, isn't having to download random applications from the web less secure than from a package manager with signed packages?

I'm not saying don't use Windows, but security should not be your main motivation for using it.

Re:Does it run Linux? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048300)

Is Flash multi-threaded (-cored?) now?

If not I assume: Yes.

They day it's is the day surfing the web will suck even more.

Re:Does it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048520)

Is Flash multi-threaded (-cored?) now?

Yes. From Adobe's forums:

Flash player 10 supports pixel bender kernels (programs) that can run as a filter, blend mode or a background job. A pixel bender kernel running as a background job (ShaderJob) runs on a true thread (rather than a PseudoThread) and is therefore faster. The only disadvantage here is that your background job must be programmable in pixel bender's language, Hydra.

They day it's is the day surfing the web will suck even more.

Hello tomorrow!

Re:Does it run Linux? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048480)

I'm starting to really worry about America. Your fine country was such a great example of capitalism in action, and now it turns out that you were living a big lie. Who'd have thunk it? The clue was in the way you relentlessly stole from other countries and imposed your will around the world by waging war, usually by proxy. Oh well, it's pretty obvious that you won't get much sympathy from the rest of us as you disappear down the toilet bowl of history - lol! x)

Re:Does it run Linux? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048522)

everything goes in cycles.
we will be back on top before we disappear.
so eat my american ass you piece of shit foreign faggot.

Re:Does it run Linux? (0, Offtopic)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049514)

Is it? We're still waiting for the Roman Empire to come back. If your "cycle" is as long as theirs, prepare yourselves for some very, very long times in the toilet.

Uh - China didn't "make" it, they "assembled" it (4, Insightful)

Emperor Shaddam IV (199709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049084)

China: "We made the fastest super-computer!!!"

Intel and NVidia: "Uh - no you didn't, We are own all your processors!!!"

Doping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048126)

I bet they used Doped Transistors ;)

Imagine... (0, Redundant)

jplopez (1067608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048134)

a beowulf cluster of chopsticks.

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048158)

Me Chinese, me play joke, me put petaflop in, er, wait that doesn't work so well...

Is this a feat of ingenuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048136)

Using an army of cheap, disposable labor. The microprocessors, of course.

Good on the Chinese (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048138)

Maybe this is the bitch-slapping the US needs to pull it's head out of it's ass, and start doing the things it needs to do to be seriously competitive again.

Meh. Who am I kidding?

Re:Good on the Chinese (4, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048174)

Yeah, lets borrow more money from the Chinese Government so we can build a useless supercomputer to outdo them - just to say we did it! Thanks, grandkids!

Re:Good on the Chinese (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048236)

Where did I use the word "government"?

Re:Good on the Chinese (2, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048398)

Hint: cynics don't require facts to be cynical.

Re:Good on the Chinese (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048620)

I don't really see what company would make the investment - for what? There are plenty of supercomputers in the US already. If they needed to perform some processing, they would leverage those existing investments for a lot less than what building their own would cost - or they would use the chinese one because it is the "fastest" for the time being. There is little incentive to "build one because the chinese have a faster one" in the commerical market.

Re:Good on the Chinese (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048898)

We're already using the money we borrow from China to protect Asia from China.

Re:Good on the Chinese (2, Interesting)

WhitePanther5000 (766529) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049032)

There is nothing useless about a supercomputer. Oak Ridge National Lab has over a billion dollar budget [knoxnews.com] each year and huge portions of that budget relies on the availability of high performance computing resources. (Not to mention all the other national labs [doe.gov] ) HPC supports research in areas like energy conservation, new power sources, bioinformatics, material science, weapons simulations, engineering, and computer science. Applications range from freeing ourselves of fossil fuel reliance to designing materials to be used in [insert next big product]. HPC is the reason we don't need to do nuclear weapon testing anymore. HPC is the reason our grandkids will have a longer average lifespan. I can guarantee that these machines wouldn't be built for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars if they weren't being used. And I can guarantee that when the US regains #1, it won't be for the sake of being #1... it will be for the necessity of furthering science that benefits us all.

Re:Good on the Chinese (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048218)

Sadly, China needed to build this computer simply to calculate the interest on the US debt in realtime.

Re:Good on the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34049564)

LOL. Oh snap!

Re:Good on the Chinese (3, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048372)

What are you suggesting?

Growing population by a factor of 5?

Decrease salaries?

Spend lots of the money on small high image projects while most of the rest of the country remain poor?

I do understand that they will eventually catch up, but in the mean time you Americans are way ahead of the average Chinese.

Re:Good on the Chinese (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048498)

Competitive in what, exactly? We have many supercomputers in the USA; we have no idea what to do with them, though, and many of them are spending a lot of time idle. Some supercomputers are now being rented out to investors, because the people the computers were built for -- the scientists -- are not using enough computer time.

What we really need to do is look at the state of research in this country. Also, maybe if we had a more solid economic base, one in which we solve the trade imbalance by exporting real goods rather than copyrights, we could spend more money on science and supercomputing. Oh well, in your words, "who am I kidding?"

Re:Good on the Chinese (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048596)

This is something that used to bug me, but then I realized something important. I just do like a large amount of other people from unstable regions have done for the last 30 years, and flee like a rat from a sinking ship. The US fails and I just get a tech job in a different (and much more stable) country. I work for a multinational corporation: Transfers are nontrivial, but relatively easy. It's more a question of motivation.

Re:Good on the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048902)

Unfortunately for them, they don't know how to use proper cable management [gatewaytech.ca] . It kinda reminds me of this disaster [cjcc.com] . Guess it's par for the course when you compare it to an old Cray-1 [digibarn.com] .

Worthless stunt (0, Troll)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048142)

The time for "supercomputers" is long past. This is just muscle-play that does not mean anything. The fetish of having a "supercomputer" seems to be a left-over from the times when computers were very slow and almost nobody had one. Or maybe politicians (and journalists) are still living in those times...

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

grajzor (1307967) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048220)

This is what the rukept telling themselves during the Cold War.

Re:Worthless stunt (2, Informative)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048232)

Serious research still needs much faster supercomputers than we have now. All kinds of science - from artificial intelligence to weather modeling to astrophysics to genetic research to nuclear simulations. Access to a powerful supercomputer is a major boon for academia in the country.

Re:Worthless stunt (2, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048678)

Does research still need supercomputers, though? If you're writing a program parallelized enough to split across tens of thousands of processing units, why not go with a full cluster, like the vaunted Hadoop or EC2?

I think the time for a single powerful machine is long past. Maintaining the level of interconnection between the nodes is expensive, and we can do better. In the words of Dr. Ken Batcher, "A supercomputer is a device for turning compute-bound problems into I/O-bound problems." With distributed storage (like HDFS) coupled to the distributed processing (like Hadoop), we can turn those same problems into merely cost-bound problems.

Re:Worthless stunt (3, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048868)

Nearly all of these supercomputers are just that - VERY large clusters.

Although in many cases they have specialized communications backplanes for communications between nodes with capabilities (such as low latency) that can't be achieved with geographically distributed clusters. (Note the mention of parts from Intel and Nvidia, combined with undefined "domestic" communications silicon.)

Also note that geographic distribution leads to all sorts of information assurance nightmares when you're simulating nukes...

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

byteherder (722785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048962)

"Does research still need supercomputers, though?"

Yes, lots of good, interesting research still going on.

If you think clusters or Hadoop or map reduce or EC2 or cloud computing is going to solve the problems that supercomuter tackle you will be waiting around for a very long time.

"A supercomputer is a device for turning compute-bound problems into I/O-bound problems."Some problems are compute bound, some are memory bound, some are I/O bound. Supercomputers attempt to addresses this for the largest of these types of problems. Distributed storage or distributed process like Hadoop does not solve this except for the most trivial of supercomputer-class problem. There is still a need for supercomputers.

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048246)

Or they're using them for complex modelling - like everyone else who has one uses them for.

Re:Worthless stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048250)

That's hilarious. Who writes your material?

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048268)

If your definition of supercomputer is an old yellow box with the turbo button then yes. Otherwise you are just plain retarded.

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048550)

Watch it... he has a botnet of Atari 2600's that will DDOS your ass.

Or something.

Re:Worthless stunt (3, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048286)

As someone whose works depends on HPC I disagree with you. A lot of people in life sciences, materials science, nuclear physics, geophysics and other knowledge areas needs clusters and super computers.

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048360)

From the article

The battle to build the fastest supercomputer has become a sort of national pride as these high performance computers are used in a variety of areas like defense, energy, finance, science. They are also used for drug discovery, hurricane and tsunami modeling, cancer research, car design, even studying the formation of galaxies. For example, oil companies use supercomputers to find reservoirs, while Wall Street traders use it for speedy automated trades.

Everyone knows that you can do all of the above on a simple netbook

Re:Worthless stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048464)

From the article

The battle to build the fastest supercomputer has become a sort of national pride as these high performance computers are used in a variety of areas like defense, energy, finance, science. They are also used for drug discovery, hurricane and tsunami modeling, cancer research, car design, even studying the formation of galaxies.

For example, oil companies use supercomputers to find reservoirs, while Wall Street traders use it for speedy automated trades.

Everyone knows that you can do all of the above on a simple netbook

Sure you can. You just do it in the cloud.

Re:Worthless stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048376)

You are an idiot and I take offense that slashdot even allows you to post. When did the commentary go full retard here? It's never been exactly meaningful discussion, but when did you guys just give up completely?

Re:Worthless stunt (0)

Aquina (1923974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048378)

Sorry, but this is not correct! Please have a look at the TOP500 to see for yourself what these machines actually compute. Unless you're not an IT professional I tell you there are things you cant achieve with a hommade cluster of PS3's or something thelike. Supercomputers from Cray for eg.g have a very specialized BUS to transfer data between units. It's not possible to have the same rates by simply connecting ordinary PCs via ethernet. You need special transport systems (BUS), special boards, management capabilities, enclosures, operating systems, etc. to do the really big computing. Think about weather prediction, the calculation of climate models or e.g. media analysis and distributed compiling.

Re:Worthless stunt (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048390)

we went to the moon during a period of nationalist chest thumping, and when the nationalist chest thumping subsided, we haven't been back. countries that are interested in nationalist chest thumping: china, india, etc, are still pumping up their space programs

what i am saying is, for all the evils of nationalism, scientific advancement in the realm of large projects seems to be a positive byproduct

for example, if we were still in a cold war with the ussr in the 1990s, i will bet you anything that this would have been completed and would be producing amazing science at this point in time:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider [wikipedia.org]

LHC (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048910)

- what "nationalist chest thumping" went on to make the Large Hadron Collider happen?

  just curious to see how this fits into your theory. I've no idea, maybe you have the answer. But the LHC seems to have got built, and not as a war time artefact (in my ignorant opinion). Seems more like a collaboration between nations.

Education on this point welcomed.....

Re:LHC (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049624)

all of european advancement over the last 10 centuries can be traced to tribal and then nationalist competition

french spanish and british frigates would not have been sailing around india, china and the south pacific, making military inroads, if french spanish and british galleons were not first doing their best to better shoot holes into one another

in fact, you can say china and india stagnated behind european scientific advancement precisely because there was no fever pitch nationalist rivalries in those areas

european history is exhibit number one of scientific advancement propelled forward by nationalist rivalry, hardly an example of a contrast to what i am saying

Re:Worthless stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048984)

ha corporate america is in a cold war with the citizens of america :) copyright, derivatives - all to make the rich richer and the middle class poor

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049654)

well if its a war, lets start fighting back

implicit in your statement is that citizens are somehow helpless against corporations. hardly

don't lay down and take it, stand up and fight back, if at least only to preserve your self-respect

Re:Worthless stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048394)

Yeah, that's what you say, when you lose.

Re:Worthless stunt (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048436)

As a researcher using (US&European) supercomputers for high-performance numbercrunching, I strongly disagree. Some of the calculations take so much time that if I had to run it on one single (powerfull) CPU, I could probably do one big calculation in my entire PhD... Nevermind that by the time it was finished, the hardware would be long obsolete, and its not possible to fit the data in a single computer's memory anyway. So for some tasks, large/powerfull & shared computer resources really makes sense.

But of course, computers, electronic calculators, abacus'es, and pen&paper isn't strictly neccessary. Get off my stone-garden so I can carve my calculations on it!

Re:Worthless stunt (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048458)

You're a fucking idiot.

Re:Worthless stunt (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048820)

There will always be problems that require large amounts of computing power. In some cases, increases in computing power make previously unworkable problems feasible to throw a computer at.

Just because today's PCs are more powerful than older supercomputers doesn't mean there is going to be demand for capabilities at the upper end of the computing power spectrum.

In this case - A large number of the top computers in the world are used for nuclear weapons simulations. (You can't test them any more due to test ban treaties, so you have to simulate them.) So China ramping up their computing power is a bit scary. Note that it was apparently created by a "University for Defense Technology" of some sort.

(Note: I can't read TFA, as it appears to be trying to give me a popup ad, but the big square covering the article is blank and has no close button. However I've seen one or two smaller articles regarding this new system.)

How much stolen technology is inside? (0, Flamebait)

AardvarkCelery (600124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048160)

It's hard to get too excited about technological advances in a country that aggressively steals from the US, Japan, Europe and anybody else that has technology that they think would be nice to have.

It reminds me of the announcement of a new Chinese submarine a while back, where the critical technology had been stolen from the US through espionage.

If it turns out they made this system honestly, then I'll gladly congratulate them. However, their record on intellectual integrity so far is pretty dismal.

Re:How much stolen technology is inside? (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048216)

Stolen? I don't know. Purchased? From the article:

Tianhe-1A is powered by 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 graphics processor units (GPUs) and 14,336 Intel Xeon central processing units (CPUs).

So unless Nvidia and Intel have reported 20,000 or so stolen processors lately, I wouldn't worry too much.

Re:How much stolen technology is inside? (0, Offtopic)

AardvarkCelery (600124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048284)

Washington Times (reprint): U.S. secrets aboard latest Chinese sub
http://www.taiwandc.org/washt9908.htm [taiwandc.org]

Popular Mechanics: How China Steals U.S. Military Secrets
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/3319656 [popularmechanics.com]

San Francisco Chronicle: China's war on the U.S. economy
http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-01-15/opinion/17828392_1_security-review-commission-china-s-internet-currency-manipulation [sfgate.com]

Wired: Good Old Fashioned Espionage
http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/07/good-old-fashioned-industrial-espionage/ [wired.com]

Re:How much stolen technology is inside? (2, Interesting)

quatin (1589389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048854)

Oh, like this doesn't go both ways. At least they didn't start bribing/kidnapping our scientists to make "Dooms Day" devices in a hidden lair in the desert, like we did with the Germans in the Manhattan project.

Also that Washington Times article is way out of date. The proceedings of the Wen Hoo Lee trial (accused of stealing the W88 warhead for China) embarrassed public officials to the point where Bill Clinton had to issue an apology and the US government had to pay an undisclosed settlement to Lee.
The fact was US military research bases had slack handling protocols for classified documents. This was glaringly obvious as the cause of all the leaked secrets. However, to save their careers, the managers made Lee a scapegoat. Turns out it was common practice to take classified documents to work on at home. The only reason Lee was singled out for it was, because he was Asian.

Re:How much stolen technology is inside? (1, Insightful)

anegg (1390659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048304)

So far the numbers have not been independently verified, correct?

Re:How much stolen technology is inside? (3, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048624)

Steal?!?

INTEL, IBM, and other high tech firms have been sending their R&D, engineering and other high up on the job food chain jobs over there and to India. They have been building up expertise in other countries. Of course this happened.

We the US will become a technological backwater. Of course the pundits will say shit like "American kids just aren't studying science and engineering" or "It's our education system."

The answer is: why should a bright kid go into science or engineering when he won't be able to get a job? Whereas, if he goes into medical, he's pretty much guaranteed a very nice living.

It's not the education system; it's the market. The market here in the US is saying that engineering and science careers just aren't worth as much as others and it's saying that there are plenty of qualified and cheaper engineers overseas - all thanks to US companies moving there.

As we are seeing NOW, the Chinese and Indians no longer need American companies - they don't need IBM or whoever to come in a spend the millions setting up shop. They can do that themselves now thank you very much. End result: US based companies will be sidelined.

So kids, apply to foreign firms because US based companies have made themselves irrelevant.

And business owners, bypass the middlemen (IBM and whatnot) and buy direct from their suppliers in India and China - you'll save the costs of over paid American management and sales people.

Re:How much stolen technology is inside? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048668)

Fastest Train and Computer are in China (4, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048172)

And the fastest social and economic downturn is in America...coincidence?

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048314)

I think you mean to say, if we had a faster train and super computer, then the economy would right itself.

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048320)

science is for left wing nazi-commis.

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048488)

Actually you might not be that much wrong :)

Just look at the history :)

Nazi Germany had weak science?

Communism was bad for science progress?

War obviously is awesome for some science ;D, gives a reason to spend more on R&D I guess.

Of course you could do that without wars to.

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048418)

Would there be a benefit to putting the fastest computer in the fastest train?

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (1)

Klync (152475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048606)

Would there be a benefit to putting the fastest computer in the fastest train?

Hmmm.... if the train was going fast enough for relativistic effects to kick in, then this would make the computer *even faster*. You, sir / ma'am, are brilliant!

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048474)

And the fastest social and economic downturn is in America...coincidence?

Yeah, but this is just their firewall. Wait until you see the systems behind it.

As for the China's climb to the top, everyone hated U.S. policies were the big dog. Well, I hope those folks enjoy the ride down, cause it will not be pretty. I'd rather be on the top of the hill and hated, then be nice and shit all over.

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048610)

Well, the do need a fast computer to do all that filtering for dissidents.

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048660)

China is developing country where as the US is a developed one.

It's much easier to invest and build infrastructure where none exists in the first place (clean slate) than it is to uproot your existing stuff and replace it with newer. For the later, it's also much more difficult to justify the future break-even point of such an investment. People want results NOW over and beyond a simple TCO calculation.

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049158)

And the fastest social and economic downturn is in America...coincidence?

You're right! Clearly America needs a heavy dose of green tea and innards, stat!

Re:Fastest Train and Computer are in China (4, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049488)

Oh my. When have I heard this before? Oh yes, back in the 1980s when there was panic and hyperbole over Japan, Inc. overtaking the USA in everything. How did that pan out exactly? I don't see how the current situation with China is any different.

Copy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048178)

Boy, what did they copy now...

Computerized at last (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048298)

Finally they will be able to computerize the national census procedures.

Re:Computerized at last (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048534)

"Of course it runs NetBSD [netbsd.org] ...", with NPF [netbsd.org] ?

This may be a net positive... (1)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048318)

I mean, who ever expected that Skynet would speak Chinese?

I have a prediction (1)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048380)

After observing Red Flag, Loongson, and the basic nature of Chinese hardware, I predict we're going to shortly see an "oh wait, they were lying, it's 200 teraflops of American hardware" come down the pipe.

I wouldn't mind being wrong, though.

Fastest?! (4, Informative)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048388)

Oak Ridge (Jaguar):
Cores Rmax(GFlops) Rpeak(GFlops) Nmax Nhalf
224162 1759000 2331000 5474272 0

Seems faster by a good margin.

Re:Fastest?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048490)

I must agree. Jag is 2.33Petaflops. What am I missing.

Re:Fastest?! (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049610)

The Chinese computer has the fastest theoretical "peak" performance, but how well that translates to actual operational efficiency really depends on how well they are actually able to utilize the GPUs. This computer makes massive use of the GPUs which sort of gives it an architecture similar to the earth simulator, ie a massive # of vector processors supplemented by some scalar cpus. GPUs have a lot more memory bandwidth restrictions when compared to the general purpose vector CPUs used in the earth simulator but are drastically less expensive(so it's possible to use a lot more of them)
Jaguar by comparison doesn't really use a lot of GPGPU computing for better or for worse.

Numbers Correction (4, Informative)

airwick (121385) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048400)

The slashdot summary has the wrong numbers. The actual article which slashdot quotes is contradictory. Its starts by saying:
"Tianhe-1A has set a new performance record of 2.507 petaflops, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, making it the fastest system in China and in the world today."
and then one paragraph later it gives the same numbers as the slashdot summary.

Other articles (from other sites) are claiming theoretical peak performance of 4 Petaflops (from an Nvidia source) and sustained petaflops of 2.5.

Re:Numbers Correction (1)

trooperer (1305425) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048688)

I noticed the same thing. Looking at the previous top 10 list [wikipedia.org] I noticed that the old Tianhe-I has the exact same performance as new 1A one

Re:Numbers Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048752)

Looking at the news article on nudt.edu.cn (the site hosting the machine) it seems the peak is 1.2 PF and linpack 560 TF. Also from that page, GPUs are ATI, not Nvidia.

The article mentions plans to upgrade which would yield ~800 TF linpack.

What to believe...

Newegg (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048496)

So apparently all it takes to make a "supercomputer" now is lots and lots of money. Just go to Newegg and order that dual socket xeon dream machine you have in your cart. Then order 14,000 more of them.

How fast ? (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048508)

From TFA:
"... Tianhe-1A has set a new performance record of 2.507 pataflops, as mesured by the Linpack benchmark ... Tianhe-1A is theorectically able to do more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second(one petaflop) at peak speed. Tianhe-1A's peak performance reaches 1.206 petaflops...

So does it do 1, 1.206 or 2.507 petaflops ?

Re:How fast ? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048608)

Depends on which currency you use? :p

China lies. (5, Insightful)

rafter109 (1319819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048544)

There is absolutely no consistency in numbers in this story. Some measurements show this computer to be about 45% slower than the Cray XT5 and some show it to be faster. Given China's history of arbitrarily throwing out numbers to try to prop themselves up in the international community I cannot accept this as fact without some sort of independent verification. If China has in fact created the worlds fastest supercomputer, I congratulate them on a job well done. But I am still skeptical about this story. Sounds like my government (US) is just looking for an excuse to spend billions more on a new supercomputer.

Re:China lies. (1)

HisMother (413313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048728)

Yeah, that's my reaction too. China can say whatever they want, but that doesn't make it true.

Re:China lies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34049166)

Like, "Tibet is actually just a province of China, not an independent country as everyone else believes. It's always been this way. Tibet has always paid taxes in return for protection. When the Tibetan leaders became corrupt, started keeping slaves [?], hoarding money, not paying taxes, the Chinese government had to step in to protect their citizens." Nice story. Good fuzzy feelings. Stop those naughty monks. Yeah, right. I work with a bunch of Chinese, and it's amazing the stuff they hold to be self evident.

Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048578)

Tianhe-1A is theoretically able to do more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second (one petaflop) at peak speed. Tianhe-1A 's peak performance reaches 1.206 petaflops, and it runs at 563.1 teraflops (1,000 teraflops is equal to one petaflop) on the Linpack benchmark.

That's almost enough to run Vista!

Fastest supercomputer for how long? (1)

LogarithmicSpiral (1463679) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048604)

Is this faster than Blue Waters at NCSA is going to be in 2011?

Re:Fastest supercomputer for how long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34048922)

They have annoyed Steve Jobs so he will go with the G5 processor to get the crown back!

Re:Fastest supercomputer for how long? (2, Informative)

gauauu (649169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049202)

Is this faster than Blue Waters at NCSA is going to be in 2011?

Nope, Blue Waters is supposed to be significantly faster. According to NCSA's page about Blue Waters [illinois.edu] , Blue Waters is supposed to have peak performance of 10 petaflops, and sustained performance at 1 petaflop. Tianhe-1A, according to the summary, peaks at about 1.2 petaflops.

Fire this reporter (5, Informative)

Orgasmatron (8103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048622)

The article starts by claiming 2.507 petaflops, but gives no mention if that is Rmax or Rpeak. We have to assume that it is Rmax, since 2.5 petaflops is no big deal in terms of Rpeak.

Unfortunately, then the article lists both Rpeak and Rmax. But the numbers quoted seem to be for Tianhe-I (#7 on the top 500 list), not Tianhe-IA (not currently listed). Wikipedia table of the top 10 [wikipedia.org]

Oh, and it gets better. The article claims that Tianhe-IA has 7,168 GPUs and 14,336 CPUs. Very strange, since the Tianhe-I has 71,680 CPU/GPU pairs.

My guess is that China doubled up their Tianhe-I computer and swapped out for newer GPUs, then named the new thing Tianhe-IA (this is pretty normal when competing for top500 spots). I'm going to go with 143,360 Xeon/M2050 pairs. Either that, or the Chinese found a way to overclock 10% of their chips into the 20+ GHz range and threw out the rest.

Supercomputing is passe (2, Insightful)

sarkeizen (106737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048682)

Supercomputing is largely a solved problem...do a regression analysis on the variables on the Top 500 sometime. Primarily it's a function of the number of cores. I've told people in my own workplace - you want a machine on the Top 500 then write me a cheque - making a supercomputer isn't the feat of skill or engineering that it was in the days of Cray. This doesn't even touch on what the hell you use these things for the problem space for parallel processing is clearly smaller than that of serial processing. Add to that the assertion that the number of useful applications drops off steeply as you add more cores (at some point you are left with only the "embarrassingly parallel" ones) and creating the largest supercomputer in the world is akin to saying you are creating the least useful computer in the world. Not to mention probably one of the least power efficient, highest maintenance costs, etc..

Metric? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048706)

What metric should one use to compare supercomputers? Using the amount of floating point operations performed per second (FLOPS) comes across as a little silly, because if you just pile together a sufficient amount of standard PC's, you should be able to top it (maybe Folding@home could be considered a bigger supercomputer). Therefore, I assume that the interconnectivity (and the speed related to it) of the CPU's should have something to do with it...

Re:Metric? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048896)

I'm fairly certain Linpack (the standard metric) requires decent connectivity if it is to scale.

Meh (4, Funny)

csoto (220540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048882)

The only reason it's so fast is because a half hour after you feed it data, it's hungry again...

Hmmm El Taco might want to check... (1)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34048990)

his sources. As reported on CNN from Mashable [mashable.com] :

Unveiled Wednesday at the Annual Meeting of National High Performance Computing (HPC China 2010) in Beijing, Tianhe-1A is the world's fastest supercomputer with a performance record of 2.507 petaflops, as measured by the LINPACK benchmark.

Tianhe-1A was designed by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in China, and it is already fully operational.

To achieve the new performance record, Tianhe-1A uses 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs and 14,336 Intel Xeon CPUs.

It cost $88 million; its 103 cabinets weigh 155 tons, and the entire system consumes 4.04 megawatts of electricity.

Tianhe-1A ousted the previous record holder, Cray XT5 Jaguar, which is used by the U.S. National Center for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

It is powered by 224,162 Opteron CPUs and achieves a performance record of 1.75 petaflops.

According to Nvidia, Tianhe-1A will be operated as an open access system to use for large scale scientific computations.

Just sayin...

fp Do7l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34049258)

Log on Then the not so 3ad. To the A super-organised

blue waters (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34049484)

IBM and the NSF are already building a supercomputer which will have an eventual supposed peak performance of 10 petaflops: Blue Waters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Waters At the university of Illinois. I actually work at the university and have been by the building (it is complete), though we don't have the hardware yet from IBM. It is all starting to go in, though, and is supposed to be working before October of next year. So don't worry, it's not like the US is getting stomped in computing power.

Also, to those posters questioning the need for supercomputers......as someone who works on HPC code and applications, I cannot disagree with you more. We already have simulations that are not practical to run on modern supercomputers. In the grand scheme of things, these are not even terribly "complex" issues when compared to, say, modeling an entire human organ or even body. Imagine what we could do with something like that....you could test new "drugs" in a simulated environment and get a good idea of the effects (this is all just one idea that comes to mind)...

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