Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

China Builds 1-Petaflop Homegrown Supercomputer

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the home-is-where-the-chart-is dept.

China 185

MrSeb writes "Drawing yet another battle line between the incumbent oligarchs of the West and the developing hordes of the East, China has unveiled a new supercomputer that uses entirely-homegrown processors — 8,704 of them, to be exact. The computer is called Sunway BlueLight MPP and it has a peak performance of just over 1 petaflop — or around the 15th fastest supercomputer in the world. Sunway uses the ShenWei SW-3 1600, a 16-core, 64-bit MIPS-compatible (RISC) CPU. The process used to make the chips is not known, but it is likely 65 or 45nm, a few generations behind Intel's latest and greatest. Each of the 139,264 cores runs at 1.1GHz, the entire system has 150TB of memory and 2PB of storage, and of course it's water-cooled. The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China — as in, the country itself — probably reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha CPU in 2001 and has been developing ever since. Sunway is significant for two reasons: a) It's very low-power; it consumes just one megawatt, about half of its contemporaries and one seventh of the US's Jaguar — and b) This is China's first significant supercomputer to be built without Intel or AMD processors."

cancel ×

185 comments

"Homegrown"? (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896020)

From the article:

The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China — as in, the country itself — has been steadily developing since 2001. It is believed that the Loongson family of processors, including the ShenWei SW-3 found in Sunway, were created by reverse engineering a DEC Alpha CPU.

So you're saying that the entirely homegrown processor was started by reverse engineering a DEC Alpha CPU? Sounds very telling of China's position on innovation (copy/paste). I'm very excited someone is putting pressure on the nations of the world to compute like a boss but it does rub me the wrong way when the title of the article is titled with a "West vs. East" prefix. I'm not trying to get all "Rah Rah USA" here but isn't all the fabrication and chip design built on top of so much history from all around the world? Calling anything entirely "homegrown" in supercomputers or chip design seems kind of unbelievable to me. Unless China's got something radically original [slashdot.org] , I'm guessing they owe at least a little credit to so much work done in the USA, Europe the rest of Asia. I mean, it is RISC, right?

This "East vs. West" and "homegrown" stuff is kind of misleading and I find this amusing:

Lest you think this is merely serendipitous happenstance, think again: China has repeatedly stated that it wishes to sever its reliance on American/Western high-tech — and now it can add supercomputers to its rapidly growing list of (mostly reverse-engineered) successes.

And when that is deemed "too slow" where do you turn to move forward? Do you draw on your internal innovation to come up with a new design and process to defeat your opponents or do you merely go back to re-engineering your opponent's latest chip?

Very soon, perhaps by 2020, the only edge that the US will have is in the realm of research and innovation ...

Reverse engineering is innovation? Okay so when China outstrips the United States and defeats the evil Western corporations, who then will they turn to for reverse engineering targets? Also, what is driving this chip to innovate? Who are the competitors for Loongson/Godson? Nobody inside their borders, the government is funding that! That's the problem when your government pays for and decides what you're going to use. Once that's in place, you can sit back and soak up that fat federal funding. Where's the competition going to come from?

... and today's announcement of the Sunway supercomputer suggests that the US might not have as much of an advantage as it would hope.

Hey man, I love FUD if it kicks our politicians into dumping more of that Military Industrial Complex cash into Science and Research but ... feel free to call me skeptical of your last conclusion. The fact is that by 2020 they're still going to be using this same reverse engineered chip design -- unless they're on their way to reverse engineering another.

Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896100)

A few rounds of subtly defective technologies, and perhaps China might learn not to copy off the US.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (1)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896202)

Everyone bases their stuff on something. Even in the West. Note that it said it got start from that. Everything we do in our every day lives in based on something too, and so are all US products.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896526)

The rise of the West in the last few hundred years can been attributed to the Renaissance

The Renaissance happened partly/mostly due to a bunch of Italians rediscovering ancient Greek and Roman knowledge. Ergo, the West as we know it got to where it is by copying the Greeks/Romans

But of course, it's also around the time of Renaissance that the modern notion copyright and intellectual property surfaced.

Thus, we have the doublethink that makes it OK for the West to copy ancient Greeks/Romans, but not OK for other cultures to copy the West.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896722)

anyhow. the west can just start copying and reverse engineering china if it goes to that.

in either case, it's better tech for everyone.

also - one important points in kicking off the renaissance was this: stealing shit from CHINA.

gunpowder? check.
advanced principles on war and administration? check.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897596)

The Arabs were far more important for the start of the Renaissance in the West than China.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897632)

The world is working Quantum Computer solutions, and china comes up this?! I just thought that china could do better.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897502)

GP is exactly right about how ridiculous it is though, when your proof that the West is going to get outcompeted is that China has a chip thats some 5-6 years old in fabrication tech.
Its sort of like saying "Africa is starting to build out its basic infrastructure; surely this means in a few years they will be surpassing the west in power generation". Yea, except that doesnt follow at ALL.

I mean, seriously, youre comparing a 60nm chip to Intel and AMD's stuff? Get real. What were costs of production? What is its real-world performance? Etc etc.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896210)

As if they give a fuck if something works or not. Everything is either a success or a "success".

The supercomputing power "war" kinda reminds me of the ol' console wars from the 90s....

New Supercomputer to utilize Blast Processing! ...GOTTA GO FAST!

DMA (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896490)

New Supercomputer to utilize Blast Processing!

What's so special about having a DMA unit [wikipedia.org] ? Because that's all Blast Processing ever was: Sega's name for the DMA unit in the Genesis memory controller.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (4, Funny)

MichaelKristopeit352 (1968160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897112)

that is why china's supercomputer has a turbo button on it.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897674)

After all the time and resources spent, can this thing play Battlefield3?

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897208)

A few rounds of subtly defective technologies, and perhaps China might learn not to copy off the US.

Ah, you mean like your budget, the FED and the deficiencies?

So that's what they was! ;D

If China goes forward and the US backward I'm not sure you'll be that proud and sure they can't innovate or research on their own in a few decades. But Chinese are inferior? Right? Just like the Japanese.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897428)

He said "subtly defective" not "Batshit insane"

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897836)

With all due respect to the Japanese, they did build a computer one layer of molecules thick [slashdot.org] . But no bench marks when playing WM3 yet, that's really a shame.

Re:Why can't the US just give them a bad Concorde? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897568)

The same nation that built its own industrial base by NOT respecting patents held by others?

Re:"Homegrown"? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896356)

It likely won't be long before there are plans for a DIY supercomputer that a group of engineers can build in their homes.

Re:"Homegrown"? (1)

Lulfas (1140109) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896420)

A dozen PS3s linked up is probably close enough.

Re:"Homegrown"? (0)

MichaelKristopeit352 (1968160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896364)

you can't trust anything on this site... it's all lies and marketeering.

slashdot = stagnated

Re:"Homegrown"? (2)

adamchou (993073) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896374)

But with that mentality, many things aren't truly homegrown. Granted, reverse engineering a CPU is much more complex than reversing many other things, but lots of stuff we have today was based on copying others. Even the late great Steve Jobs at one time proudly professed "Good artists copy, great artists steal"

Re:"Homegrown"? (2)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896594)

Picaso said that.. Steve Jobs stole it and then parked in handicapped parking lots just to be a dick.

China builds first "Pirate Supercomputer"? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897434)

> China — as in, the country itself — probably reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha CPU in 2001

So I guess that makes China first to implement Picasso/Jobs piracy-thievery ethics, thus inventing the first "Pirate Supercomputer".

Corsicans should be proud.

Re:China builds first "Pirate Supercomputer"? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897456)

I wonder if they would consider lending the design for hosting a Chinese Pirate Bay, too. :)

Re:"Homegrown"? (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897866)

You sure Jobs didn't read it on a bathroom wall at Xerox many years ago?

Re:"Homegrown"? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896394)

I was a little bit surprised that China had to reverse engineer a chip to make this computer, however it makes sense since they do not have the technology infrastructure set up to make their own. However, outside of ethics, isn't it illegal to copy a copyrighted design? I mean if China reverse engineered sandy bridge and named it sandy bridge - the chinese version, that in the USA is a copyright suite, what about on a global scale though?

Ten year term for mask works (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896602)

However, outside of ethics, isn't it illegal to copy a copyrighted design?

I haven't read China's copyright law, but at least in my home country, exclusive rights in chip designs expire after ten years, unlike other exclusive rights under copyright law. Even the chip's patents last longer than those.

Re:"Homegrown"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896892)

Chip designs aren't protected by copyright, they are protected by Integrated circuit layout design protection [wikipedia.org]
In the U.S. this protection lasts 10 years and the DEC Alpha is from 1992. (Design protection expired 9 years ago.)
Note that the design protection only applies to the actual stencil for the IC and that "reproduction for reverse engineering of a mask work is specifically permitted by the law."

It was never illegal to reverse engineer the DEC Alpha according to U.S. law and even if it had been the protection would have expired by now.
The design protection laws might be different in China, perhaps they don't want their engineers to be able to copy the design of others.

Re:"Homegrown"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897550)

I was a little bit surprised that China had to reverse engineer a chip to make this computer, however it makes sense since they do not have the technology infrastructure set up to make their own. However, outside of ethics, isn't it illegal to copy a copyrighted design? I mean if China reverse engineered sandy bridge and named it sandy bridge - the chinese version, that in the USA is a copyright suite, what about on a global scale though?

Copyrights are irrelevant when nations are concerned, didn't you get the memo ?
Look at how the US during the XIX and early XXth centuries systematically disregarded european copyrights. They were the greatest pirating nation on earth. And now they have the audacity to say what others can and cannot do with "intellectual property" ? Ha ha ha, payback is definitely a bitch. And unless the US is willing to go to war to enforce IP what we will probably see in next decades is China dictating to the world what we can and cannot do.
And it will have the power (mostly economic) to enforce such policies while the US is on a road to decadence and oblivion on the world scene.

Re:"Homegrown"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896456)

One day they'll surpass us or at least get on the same level. It's inevitable since their science and engineering population is way bigger than the West's. Sure, they're just reverse engineering designs today, but that's how anyone gets their start -- you build off the current leader. It's easy to be dismissive now but they have a lot of potential.

It's like how Japan was dismissed in the past but now they're huge in the electronics industry, and that's with a comparatively tiny population with little resources. What can China do with much more money and much more people?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896560)

A chinese person will reply that there was no egg, simply a reversed-engineered chicken to form another chicken :)

Re:"Homegrown"? (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896576)

You say that when one of the main architectures we use in the west (x86) was created by one company, and reverse engineered by its main rival to compete with it...

Oh, and the whole Compaq reverse engineering the IBM PC Bios to compete with IBM...

I've got no issues at all with China doing the same.

Re:"Homegrown"? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896586)

Sorry, you are ridiculous. You just underestimated a nation three times the size of USA, and an economy with a continued growth potential, despite already twenty years of explosive growth.

What you learned about copy-cat Asians from the sixties and seventies may be valid for the Chinese today, in part. Give them a few decades of copying and they'll learn to do original research soon enough; and they already do, btw.

Do you still think the Japanese are copy-cats? Not any longer. They perhaps were some fifty years ago, but haven't been for decades.

Sorry, but the brute force of 1.X billion Chinese is larger than 0.3X of the US. The education level in the greater cities of China already surpasses that of many areas in the US. Rural china vs rural US? Tough choice.

"The fact is that by 2020 they're still going to be using this same reverse engineered chip design"

Don't worry, you'll see stepwise improvements on that too; Intel is still building on improvements made for their Pentium Pro. The only radical change for Intel, the Itanium, was a financial disaster.

Bark elsewhere. The Chinese have yet again shown how to do it, at home.

Re:"Homegrown"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897162)

Rural china vs rural US? Tough choice.

If you think rural China vs rural US is a tough choice, you are the one who is being ridiculous. Rural China makes Appalachia look like Beverly Hills.

Re:"Homegrown"? (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897276)

The Chinese will only ever be innovative when they have a government that doesn't persecute free thinkers. Free thinkers tend to find fault with systems that are restrictive in nature. The Chinese Communist Party has to be one of the most restrictive governments around that brooks no descent, nor criticism. As we have seen historically and currently that China continues to throw artists and other free thinkers in prison or worse. To innovate means to think outside the box means to be a free thinker. Get my drift? Once the communists fall or somehow find a way to allow people to say or think anything they want, then your assertions about the China of the future where they will innovate and no longer have to copy or reverse engineer products in order to compete. Until that time, you are just staring down a pipe dream.

Note that this doesn't mean they won't still fuck up the western economy. But that is more a function of western companies and their bonus chasing executives not giving a rat's ass about where they get their money and offshoring the manufacture of technology invented in the west; and turning a blind eye to China copying it for their own use since they will have got their bonuses by then.

Yeah, funny however that this story is written by (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896726)

Yeah, funny however that this story is written by an American. Who invented the first computer again? Where was the jet engine developer? Radar?

Pot calling kettle, come in kettle.

Re:Yeah, funny however that this story is written (3, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897802)

Yeah, funny however that this story is written by an American. Who invented the first computer again?

Disputed; the US, UK, and Germany all have credible claims.

Where was the jet engine developer?

UK and Germany, but I believe the Germans got theirs running first.

Radar?

Most of the major players in WWII, and some minor ones. I believe the UK had the best system, but the US got naming rights.

Re:Yeah, funny however that this story is written (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897898)

On the other hand who invented the integrated circuit and the silicon diode?

Re:"Homegrown"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896774)

Glad to see you hold this attitude. That was exactly the cause of failure of any arrogant country in history - blindfolding yourself w/o open thinking. China learnt this in hard way. It seems this time is your turn.

Re:"Homegrown"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897170)

Open thinking and China are not yet synonymous and may never be. It is a significant cultural difference most do not understand.

You go with the flow there and you never criticise or think beyond consensus.

Re:"Homegrown"? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897086)

Calling anything entirely "homegrown" in supercomputers or chip design seems kind of unbelievable to me.

And all cars are German because everybody has been copying Daimler and Benz (car analogy, w00t), it's a matter of degree. It's at least homegrown in the sense that it's domestically produced and they are not currently relying on foreign companies do produce it. And since a 2001 era Dec Alpha would be built on 180nm process and this is supposedly on 45 or 65nm, they've clearly redesigned it quite a lot adjusting timings, gates and all that. You can't just take a design and make it 1/4th the size. That tells me they actually know a lot about this technology themselves.

And when that is deemed "too slow" where do you turn to move forward? Do you draw on your internal innovation to come up with a new design and process to defeat your opponents or do you merely go back to re-engineering your opponent's latest chip?

That's not an either-or question.

Reverse engineering is innovation? Okay so when China outstrips the United States and defeats the evil Western corporations, who then will they turn to for reverse engineering targets?

Just because it's unsustainable in the long run, doesn't mean it makes sense now. Innovation is possible, but they're so far behind copying is faster. As long as you're ignoring IP laws, that seems logical. Hollywood ignored copyright laws, now that the balance is in their favor they enforce it with vigor.

Also, what is driving this chip to innovate? Who are the competitors for Loongson/Godson? Nobody inside their borders, the government is funding that! That's the problem when your government pays for and decides what you're going to use. Once that's in place, you can sit back and soak up that fat federal funding. Where's the competition going to come from?

You might as well say the Apollo program had no domestic competition, the country was founding it. China wants homegrown CPUs and supercomputers so they will run a program to get it, and it'll run for as long as they need it to run.

The fact is that by 2020 they're still going to be using this same reverse engineered chip design -- unless they're on their way to reverse engineering another.

You must not have been paying very good attention to what China is doing, they're absorbing high tech at a huge rate. Their high speed rail is a good example, they imported technology from Germany and Japan, then kept building on it. They now have the largest high speed rail network in the world, with their own train designs. You think that isn't their goal with CPUs? Grab what you can, build on top. It doesn't have to be #1, just good enough they don't rely on anyone else.

Re:"Homegrown"? (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897466)

There is no way anybody can design a modern processor from scratch without reverse engineering. Think of how many man years is in a processor. Even with the reverse engineering they were only able to obtain 45nm technology which is a few years old. If china started today, it would take them 10-20 years to make a processor 10-20 years out of date. What good is that?

This machine is impressive nonetheless. It uses good power 1MW. Only uses off-the-shelf networking (Infiniband). Only uses 9 racks of space. If they put those on the market, they would sell quite well (at the right price).

Re:"Homegrown"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897564)

To quote a great person, who ripped it off from another personality, "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal."

The first knockoff supercomputer. (1, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896056)


The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China â" as in, the country itself â" probably reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha CPU in 2001 and has been developing ever since.

This should be a greater argument against handing technology to China, since they just simply copy off of everyone else.

It's the truth, no matter how far you modbomb.

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896372)

>It's the truth, no matter how far you modbomb.

You get modbombed because you don't bring anything to the discussion except "hate china" and your ideas are lame. Supply them with faulty technology like you suggested in a previous message? Dude, they can get the latest processors off the shelf. And it's not like they don't have fabs for making their own. We gave it to them, willingly.

So if you have anything to say bad about anybody, maybe you should look at US businesses, who in their greed for short term gains, decided to hand the Chinese everything they wanted.

I don't fault the Chinese for anything they do now. I do fault US boards and CEOs for fucking everyone here for a quick buck.

So yeah, you get modbombed because you're not contributing.

Have a nice day.

--
BMO

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896766)

While I agree that us Businesses AND politicians (W was the best friend that China had with his tax break and .75T/year deficits) deserve a lot of blame. China's actions have over and over been illegal from POV of WTO/IMF and even the 2000 accord with USA. Even now, their requiring companies to build there, but not import is illegal. Obama SHOULD have done something by now, but .....

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (3, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897108)

Nope. Not gonna blame China.

I blame Texas Instruments and others. I blame TI for closing their Attleboro MA plant and shipping everything off, including the engineering, to China.

Then there was AT Cross. Back when you wanted a "fancy pen" in the 70s and 80s, you bought a Cross pen. What did AT Cross do? Pick up and ship everything off to China from Lincoln RI. No, it's not high tech, but the thinking is the same.

Those are just local examples I can think of off the top of my head.

Not blaming China anymore. I blame US.

--
BMO

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897296)

That is funny. I was looking at buying a cross pen about 6 months ago and noticed that I could not find a single one made in America. All were Chinese. So, I skipped them. Pretty damn sad.

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897164)

...China's actions have over and over been illegal from POV of WTO/IMF...

Your're worried about what WTO might think about this? Who cares what *any* unelected organizations think about anything. Those groups exist to perpetuate copyright laws, patent laws, and trade laws for the advantage of multinational companies. Those groups will isolate a country and starve its citizens to make a few bucks for their masters.

Do the world a favour and kill a banker today!

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (3, Interesting)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897488)

"I don't fault the Chinese for anything they do now."

Thing is, while Americans are waking up to the misdeeds done unto them, China still gets away with "fucking everyone" to help their economy -- socialized health care is long gone, unions are merely a facade, and minimum wage is 1000 yuan a month in cities where average rent is 1500+, in their places are entirely government funded start-ups put into private hands, rising tax rebates for export companies to offset increasing foreign tariffs, and crackdowns where stories like Scott Olsen's are so myriad that society is numb to them.

It is the same story as in the US of taking money from private citizens to fund the captains of industry and their economic war machines, only to an even greater degree for the sake of helping China catch up. The sad fact we've come to realize is that the country that can more easily oppress can also more easily tip the economic scales in their favor. Yet there are those like you who would, in their dissatisfaction with the old bullies, pave the way and make excuses for the new ones.

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (5, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896474)

reverse engineered

Licensed from MIPS.

DEC Alpha CPU

Loongson is MIPS-compatible.

in 2001

The company that makes Loongson was founded in 2002.

Wow, almost every single word in that clause is wrong.

Re:The first knockoff supercomputer. (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897190)

Everybody copies everything. Could you create a decent modern microprocessor on your own starting from middle-age technology? Guess not. So, are you a copycat?

Good for China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896106)

And so it begins ...

You know what's great about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896140)

The super computer that eventually gains sentience and takes over the world will probably be American. USA #1!

Re:You know what's great about this? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896710)

I doubt it. The control chips will be too busy arguing amongst themselves and that will prevent it.

Fuck China. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896174)

We should refuse to do business with them while we still can.

Re:Fuck China. (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896272)

> We should refuse to do business with them while we still can.

In other news, most "american" retail chains are closing for business...

Re:Fuck China. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896276)

If I ever go back in time to 1980, I'll be sure to let them know that.

I don't quite understand (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896240)

Why would they reverse engineer an Alpha chip in order tp make aIPS chip? If I were them, I'd one of the OpenSPARC cores.

Re:I don't quite understand (3, Informative)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896358)

If I were them, I'd one of the OpenSPARC cores.

You a verb there.


From wikipedia:

In 2007, a deal was reached by MIPS Technologies and ICT. STMicroelectronics bought a MIPS license for Loongson, and thus the processor can be promoted as MIPS-based or MIPS-compatible instead of MIPS-like.

In June 2009, ICT licenced the MIPS32 and MIPS64 architectures directly from MIPS Technologies.

In August 2011, Loongson Technology Corp. Ltd. licensed the MIPS32 and MIPS64 architectures from MIPS Technologies, Inc. for continued development of MIPS-based Loongson CPU cores.

Yet another FUD article trolling for xenophobic reactions.

Re:I don't quite understand (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896798)

The article is not very well written, but I think the story is that the Chinese firm reverse engineered a DEC Alpha to start making MIPS compatible chips, and then in 2007 went ahead and just bought a license from MIPS so they could actually call themselves MIPS compatible instead of just MIPS like.

The only problem with this is that Alpha is not MIPS. IIRC Alpha was at least partially derived from MIPS, so this isn't entirely improbable however.

So I guess the timeline is: 2001, Chinese firm buys a DEC Alpha, reverse engineers it. In 2002 they form a company that mass produces the knockoffs. In 2007 they buy a license from MIPS for marketing/sales purposes (maybe getting some ISA modernization as well?). 2011 they have a ton of chips installed in China's first supercomputer.

The only question left in my head is: Why Alpha? In 2001 DEC was already killing Alpha off. In 2011 terms that chip has got to be quite a few generations behind. The low power consumption might reflect a relatively low IPC. It's possible this supercomputer is built with 8,704 ARM-level cores, except that they'll probably have full up FPUs since this is a supercomputer.

Re:I don't quite understand (2)

Curlsman (1041022) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897544)

Not DEC, seemingly, but COMPAQ via Tru64 on Alpha. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tru64_UNIX [wikipedia.org] "A Chinese version of Tru64 UNIX named COSIX was jointly developed by Compaq and China National Computer Software & Technology Service Corporation (CS&S)[10]. It was released in 1999."

Re:I don't quite understand (1)

Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897786)

"Why Alpha?" indeed.

According to my back-of-the-napkin calculations, and their claimed performance, each CPU in this supercomputer is comitting 6.5 floating point instructions per clock. I don't know the specific engineering details of this new CPU, but the one it's based on is four-issue superscalar with two floating point units, one for multiplication and the other for all other operations. Either they made extensive modifications, in which case I would question why they needed to license the design in the first place, or their performance measurements are fabricated. I'm leaning toward the latter. Either way, their floating point performance is a complete joke compared to even low-end GPUs.

One thing to note is that FLOPS is completely useless as a measure for performance. Basically it is up to the supercomputer vendor to choose between measuring only the fastest operations (adds,) or to use some arbitrary convention for weighting the other operations (multiply, divide, sqrt.) They also eliminate all overhead; they run benchmarks with all operands in registers, eliminate read-after-write dependencies, and only measure after the branch predictor and I-cache/trace cache are in steady state. Completely unrealistic. The entire supercomputer industry is like this, by the way. (Even if they really did make their CPU 7- or 8-way superscalar, any realistic workload is going to cut the instruction throughput by more than half.)

Reverse engineered Alpha?? (5, Interesting)

Archibald Buttle (536586) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896246)

Why would Loongson/Godson be reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha? It implements the MIPS instruction set, not Alpha. Wouldn't it have been easier for them to reverse-engineer a MIPS chip? Doesn't the evidence seem to indicate that it's a genuinely independent implementation of MIPS?

The only source of this speculation I have found is just the extremetech article that has been linked to. My googling is showing nothing else to back this up.

Re:Reverse engineered Alpha?? (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896432)

Doesn't the evidence seem to indicate that it's a genuinely independent implementation of MIPS?

Because most of US already believe [wikipedia.org] that everything that China made must be an exact replica of whatever we have.

Re:Reverse engineered Alpha?? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897058)

Its whatever computer files can be copied at a given time. Perhaps DEC security was a bit loose in the late 1990s.

Re:Reverse engineered Alpha?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897812)

The instruction set is just a layer on top of the actual processor. The Pentium Pro wasn't an x86 processor, it was a RISC processor with an X86 instruction set on top. You could put a MIPS instruction set on top of the Alpha circuitry. Why you would do that instead of using the Alpha instruction set, I don't know. Or you could steal parts of Alpha and put it into your home grown MIPS processor.

Not saying that happened as I have no clue what did happen.

But 30 minutes later... (1, Funny)

RapidEye (322253) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896306)

Sure it is fast, but 30 minutes after the program is done, you're hungry again...

Alpha or MIPS, pick one! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896314)

It's either MIPS 64, or Alpha architecture, it isn't both. Alpha would have been reverse Engineered, but MIPS would be more likely give that it's well documented in Hennessey and Patterson, which is probably the most commonly used text on processor architecture.

Re:Alpha or MIPS, pick one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896960)

Uhh, it's that simple? Shit, I thought processor design was complex. Perhaps there's a lot more than the instruction set and skeleton. Maybe there was some magic in Alpha that can be used in a MIPS instruction set. But what do I know, you obviously are an expert in your field.

Rumor has it (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896324)

Rumor has it, this new Chinese super computer hacked into itself.

Inflammatory headline (1)

gewalker (57809) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896406)

oligarch of the west
  -- Clearly the proletariat masses of the United States have no say in politics nor are allowed to own stock in capitalist corporations.

developing hordes of the east
-- Clearly the east is nothing more than the extended family of Genghis Khan ravening the other nations

Shame on you for posting a story like this instead of simply reporting the actual news

Reverse engineering feat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896426)

"Sunway uses the ShenWei SW-3 1600, a 16-core, 64-bit MIPS-compatible (RISC) CPU."
"The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China — as in, the country itself — probably reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha CPU"

So, they reversed engineered DEC Alpha CPU into 64-bit MIPS-compatible CPU ?

Re:Reverse engineering feat (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896970)

That went past me too.

Re:Reverse engineering feat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897200)

Hey, it doesn't seem to bother the guys who'd rather discuss China-vs-the-West than the technology. Rather it highlights how those threads are based on feelings and prejudices instead of any facts.

Lesson in Communism for you, Pal (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896480)

China of course has Oligarchs and Plutocrats. All major "communist" systems have them. That's because real communism can't exist on anything on the scale bigger than a hippie commune.

It's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896482)

"China might learn not to copy off the US" every one seems to be mad at china for coping products.
Almost all countries in the west started out that way. USA became big on coping products from Europe and selling them cheap. most countries in europe got there by coping. But it's apparently a bad thing when a developing nation want to do the same thing that brought other countries to greatness

How long (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896484)

How long before I can get a chinese laptop at the dollar store?

WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896550)

Drawing yet another battle line between the incumbent oligarchs of the West and the developing hordes of the East

Just when I thought my WoW addiction was over - I hate you Slashdot.

Homegrown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896556)

The only thing homegrown about china is the copy/paste function.

Re:Homegrown? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897102)

No, Apple invented copy & paste, it was first released for iOS, remember?

Built without Intel or AMD's PERMISSION more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896558)

China, stealing design ideas from every company stupid enough to build a manufacturing plant there....

All western tech companies to disappear (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896632)

The fast that companies like Intel, AMD, Dell, IBM, HP, and esp. Apple, move their tech to China, the faster that these companies will disappear. Chinese gov. is simply using their greed against them. Smart on their part. Stupid on the companies, and America's as well. Hopefully, Google with Motorola will change that. What has to happen is that Motorola needs to focus on top products that get demand, while not taking the GM/Harvard finance MBA approach to businesses.

Re:All western tech companies to disappear (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37896712)

Pretty much

US companies are foolishly destroying themselves by doing business in china.

Re:All western tech companies to disappear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896728)

Hey CEOs don't give a fuck about the companies they manage because they know they will get their fucking golden parachutes and then be hired again by other corrupt board of directors and the cycle will continue. The joys of capitalism.

Re:All western tech companies to disappear (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897038)

That is not capitalism. That is simply the set-up the way that we have it. Since it is set-up this way, I think that we need to return to the per-reagan time that prevented Executives from owning stock, OR better yet, require that all employees including executives to own only employee stock. That way, you remove the incentive from the employees and executives to short companies.

Re:All western tech companies to disappear (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897806)

Oops. A small flaw in your argument:

China has now become an enormous market in and of itself. Reference China being Apple's #2 market (not Europe, not India, not Canada). Those companies that you complain about may have simply seen into the future, realized that manufacturing in the US wasn't an economically viable proposition in the near term and then found that, as the "Western" marketplace slowed down, China and the rest of the developing world can help to pick up the slack.

It's the ebb and flow of Empire. Has happened ever since humans grouped into tribes. There will be relative winners and losers and for US centric folks, it rather looks like we're on the shorter, blunter end of the stick economically. The Chinese have a ways to go before they are completely dominant in the world economy - they're making some smart moves - and dumb ones.

The problem is that the US (and the West) seems to be mostly making dumb moves so it looks bad.

And then there are some issues that will effect us all (Climate Change, resource allocation and other effects of 7 billion humans) so, as the old Chinese curse goes "May you live in interesting times".

Let 'em copy reverse engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896720)

The patent system is broken anyway.

Ohhh, sorry, it's not an apple thread so all the commenters positions are different....

deja vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896768)

Seems to me I've heard all this before with one Japan not that many years ago.
I even remember Japanese interests embroiled in FBI industrial sting operations.
It also seems to me nobody look askance at Japanese tech news much anymore.
Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it?

I'm sure we can guess this computer's purpose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37896814)

I'm sure we can guess this computer's likely purpose from a possible list:

1: RSA factoring, or brute forcing various crypto algorithms implementations. Big payoff if a CA root key is nabbed.
2: Since this supercomputer has a lot of oomph in the integer processing line, fast I/O for data mining and being able to correlate events. Perfect for tracking down "anonymous" dissidents by looking at the way they write and sites they use.
3: Program simulation to help find security issues in commonly used operating systems, for use by PLA "cyber-soldiers".
4: Financial market scenario planning, to know where to have their companies dump goods and why. Take the solar industry and the alleging that China is bankrupting solar companies in the US by selling their panels and such for cheaper than they can build them
5: Currency forecasting to decide when to let the yuan separate from the dollar to ensure the most economic carnage in the West.

Standing on the shoulders of others (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897052)

I had an all-to-rare chance to chat with someone I know in the chip industry. Among his greatest challenges right now is how to 'characterize' performance and failures. The state of the art is so profoundly advanced that production facilities are using what are truly research technologies to deal with their production needs.

To put it differently, imagine that mainstream medicine was being manufactured at university research labs, using the research facilities as if they were production lines. State of the art chip fabs are pretty much at that level.

His assessment was that China barely has close-to-useful chip research going on, and they can only indulge in truly state of the art research if they steal/buy the necessary hardware AND personnel to operate it. And they haven't been caught kidnapping researchers. And their plants in U.S. universities haven't been smuggling such equipment, though he can't guess as to what they may have been able to purchase on the Q.T. with the necessary government assistance. And that's what he fears, that the Chinese will draw to parity with the rest of the world not through their own efforts, but through espionage, subterfuge, and the willing accomplices in other governments that see the opportunity for growth but not the opportunity for dominance.

And then, he thinks, a transcendent China will fail to exhibit the creativity to develop a lead, and will merely out-price the competition. He truly only fears his employer will somehow squander or fail to maintain their currrent dominant position, and be reduced to price wars, which is, in his opinion, the way to their demise.

So far, no sign that they are letting up on the innovation acclerator.

China is still considering it a victory to copy 20-year old technology. We should hope this is their model for a while longer.

ps - He thinks we will see a push to U.S. manufacturing of semiconductors, electronics devices, and such when it becomes even more evident that we cannot trust Chinese-made devices. UEFI-based PCs will make this even more evindent than Cisco hardware, he thinks, and will first bring Korean and Japanese manufacturers a new opportunity. Then the DOD will realize they can't trust even the solder from China. Then we can be honest about this issue.

will always be behind if they depend on espionage (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897070)

fro computer designs or any other technology (which seems to be most of their high tech industries).

Bad Day for Summaries (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897094)

Today seems a particularly bad day for Slashdot summaries. The successful Russian Progress capsule launch making the booster man-safe again, and this one are the worst yet. Since when was the DEC Alpha MIPS based?

New Competition (1)

Froggels (1724218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897180)

It's nice to see some potential competition for a change. IMO, for the past 2 decades the west has been getting way too soft.

So many comments bashing China... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897198)

So many comments bashing China for improvising designs based on Western products.

Perhaps rather that criticising China for "stealing" our technology we should take a look at our OWN patent system.

Y'know, the phrase about standing on the shoulders of giants... not the one about them thinking you have stinky blood and eating you- the other one.

All todays technology is built on technology discovered by someone else. We need more companies in this country "stealing" from each other.

Network topology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897218)

Anyone with enough money can put 1000s of CPUs on a network, run a stupidly parallel benchmark, and claim a supercomputer. What really matters is the network topology. How long does it take a local node to access remote data? It looks like each CPU only has about 1 GB of memory in this system. For a massively parallel problem, I suspect this will put tremendous pressure on the on-board interconnect between the 16 (or 32?) nodes and the network interconnect to the remote nodes.

ggoaT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897504)

code shar1ng be treated By your

I would love to buy an 8-Core godson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897584)

to run OpenCL/Erlang on it. (if it is cheap enough)

Maybe we should get some copying in here? (2)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897638)

Why is the gut american reaction "Look at those dirty Chinese copying our technology, they're just stupid copycats"

Why don't we instead think "Man, look how quickly they innovate on technology because they aren't locked down by stupid IP law, we should fix our IP law to help innovators (help them not fear being sued to death for improving a product and making a buck and some jobs)"

The fact of the matter is, if we don't "steal" IP (and by steal I mean share and protect inventors and innovators in a reasonable fashion, with sensible time limits and timely filings and better restrictions on what is patentable/copywriteable), some other country will, and they'll be the ones making the cash at the end of the day.

Seems like history.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897732)

http://www.ushistory.org/us/25d.asp

"... The first factory in the United States was begun after George Washington became President. In 1790, SAMUEL SLATER, a cotton spinner's apprentice who left England the year before with the secrets of textile machinery, built a factory from memory to produce spindles of yarn. ..."

Loaded and slightly racist lead-in . . . (2)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897978)

Drawing yet another battle line between the incumbent oligarchs of the West and the developing hordes of the East

Hordes of the East? Seriously?

-GiH

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...