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China Building a 100-petaflop Supercomputer Using Domestic Processors

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the mips-vs-arm-culture-conflict dept.

China 154

concealment writes "As the U.S. launched what's expected to be the world's fastest supercomputer at 20 petaflops, China is building a machine that is intended to be five times faster when it is deployed in 2015. China's Tianhe-2 supercomputer will run at 100 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second), according to the Guangzhou Supercomputing Center, where the machine will be housed. Tianhe-2 could help keep China competitive with the future supercomputers of other countries, as industry experts estimate machines will start reaching 1,000-petaflop performance by 2018." And, naturally, it's planned to use a domestically developed MIPS processor

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Yeah right (1, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 2 years ago | (#41829959)

They're using domestically built copies of MIPS processors they copied from someone else (usually wrongly), stringing them together and proving that 2+2=5.

Re:Yeah right (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830039)

Copying the instruction set is not the same as copying the processor.

Re:Yeah right (2)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 years ago | (#41830165)

You're right, but it looks like they've done the latter. http://laotsao.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/sw1600-and-alpha-21164/ [wordpress.com]

Could You Clarify Something for Me? (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41830283)

You're right, but it looks like they've done the latter. http://laotsao.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/sw1600-and-alpha-21164/ [wordpress.com]

It says right in the ShenWei Wikipedia article that it's based on the DEC Alpha but something that strikes me as curious is that your article refers to a chip that lasted from 1995 to 1998 [wikipedia.org] . So I am to believe that by outright copying a fifteen year old chip from a processor line that has been extinct for a decade or more [wikipedia.org] has yielded a modern day competitive multiprocessing chip?

You can convince me they copied DEC's work. You can convince me they violated IP laws. You can convince me that it is their societal norm to ignore restrictive IP laws. Hell, I'll tell you that right now. But to say that they are doing no work to build on top of these chips feels like it must be erroneous unless what we see is 1990s technology in the ShenWei processors.

This isn't a black and white scenario here. Yes, it's bad that IP laws have been violated. Yes, it's bad that DEC won't see a dime from any of their work being used. But it is also a good thing to have a competitive architecture arise in the world of computing and also it feels good to have a race with other countries for computing power. I can only hope our super computing budget is considered part of the onerous "defense budget" and our leaders who are concerned with a dick measuring contest can dump tons of money into supercomputers for modeling and simulation to scientists while at the same time being able to give the hallowed talking point of "I increased defense spending."

You can start with someone else's good idea, turn it into a great idea and share some credit, right?

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (5, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#41830591)

Why is it bad that DEC (a defunct company) can't profit from their imaginary property in a country that has no protection from or laws against such use. The US Government can also appropriate technology and materials from private corporations within their sovereign state without compensation.

DEC attempted to market their solution and failed miserably, they made their money back by selling it to Intel (so actually it's currently Intel's Imaginary Property). If someone else can improve upon their design (which was quite good actually especially in floating point operations) then I can only applaud their work. Just because it's the boogeyman-du-jour that's developing it doesn't make a difference to me.

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831333)

It is my opinion that Apple is a defunct company and the iPod technology has been largely a failure so ... it's okay that I make iPods now and label them iPods and put an Apple shape on them? Because that imaginary property is imaginary?

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 2 years ago | (#41832419)

You're obviously a stupid shit.

The status of DEC is not based on opinion. The corporation no longer exists.

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830685)

That old Alpha chip did about 5 GFLOPS with a single core on 666Mhz, so 16 of these at 1.1Ghz would go up to about the 140GFLOPS that are stated on the wikipedia on the ShenWei SW1600. Thats about twice as fast as an i7-930@4.2 Ghz.

So so much for decades old technology. It was just abondoned because there was to little market for it, but that doesn't mean it's bad stuf.

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41831107)

+1

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#41831339)

It was just abondoned because there was to little market for it,

No, it was abandoned because HP/Compaq ended up owning the Alpha and PA-RISC and Intel convinced them that they could lower costs by outsourcing their CPU design and use Itanium instead. There were still a lot of people who wanted to buy new Alphas, and they got stuck with Itaniums instead. The ones that weren't on VMS or NonStop just gave up and switched to commodity x86 and some open source *NIX.

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (1)

Promethus (564938) | about 2 years ago | (#41832573)

Slight tangent, but man, I miss VMS - I cut my teeth with that in the late nineties and loved it. I admin linux know and enjoy the hell out of it, but there's still a part of me that hankers after VMS....

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (4, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#41832695)

That old Alpha chip did about 5 GFLOPS with a single core on 666Mhz, so 16 of these at 1.1Ghz would go up to about the 140GFLOPS that are stated on the wikipedia on the ShenWei SW1600. Thats about twice as fast as an i7-930@4.2 Ghz.

You're right. Alpha CPUs were, AFAIK, quite well-suited for multicore operation, though the Chinese must have created some impressive glue logic.

The original 21164 was implemented using a paltry (by today's standards) 10 million transistors. Using 350 nm technology, at that. The Chinese are capable of reducing that by about an order of magnitude, achieving a significant speedup because of the smaller gates - that's just by using the new cleanroom microfabrication tech.

Actually, I'm wishing good luck to the Chinese engineers. And a big fat "fuck you" to the managers/CxOs that doomed the amazing technologies from DEC (Alpha wasn't the only one that died on the chopping board of corporate stupidity).

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (5, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#41830715)

Have you ever used one of those things? They were amazing chips for their time, especially with their bus architecture. They were great for SMP usage.

AMD and Intel managed to get ahold of a lot of the developers and IP related to these chips, and wedged it into their systems. I'd be very surprised if you still couldn't find traces of it in their systems today. I know not long after AMD got their share, their SMP performance shot up massively, and when it comes to SMP use, they are still better at it than Intel (though, their per-core lack of performance, sadly makes up for this).

So, yeah, with a die shrink, I could see these being amazing for a multi-core behemoth, and competitive with anything extant on the market right now. The only reason we don't see these today, I suspect, is because Intel got most of the IP, and used it to make the Itanium, and the wouldn't produce a competitor for their pet pink elephant.

Re:Could You Clarify Something for Me? (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 years ago | (#41830943)

Nobody said anything about being a modern day competitive chip.
I'll agree they've probably shrunk the die and increased the clock speed.
But, since they haven't increased the L1 and L2 caches over the late 90s DEC version, I doubt they've done anything else radical either.

Re:Yeah right (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 2 years ago | (#41832795)

How does a copy of a DEC Alpha processor end up with a MIPS instruction set??

MIPS or Alpha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41832829)

I've seen lots of claims that the SW chips are Alpha-based, and I wish I could get my hands on one if they are, but...
Last I checked, the Alpha pedigree supposedly came from Longsoon.
Yeah right indeed. The Longsoon chips run standard mips64 linux.
Address width is similar to Alpha, though.

And by the way...if it really is mips64, then it's a pathetic knockoff:
-quad issue is standard mips64 (Longsoon appears to be a single-issue clone, from what I've read; some chips are dual-issue)
-standard speed ranges from 400 MHz (Sierra PMC lowend) to 2.5+ GHz (XLPII)
The 1.1 GHz listed is just shy of the EV7z (1.3 GHz), the last Alpha version.
-cores range from 1 to 64 (Cavium Octeon/Nitrox)
--59-bit physical address space is standard with the official design, from what I've read. This is 40-bit.
In other words, it's 1 TB RAM here (equal to ARMv7 LPAE and Alpha) vs 256 TB on amd64 vs half an exabyte with stock mips64.

Re:Yeah right (3, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41830101)

Keep telling yourself that. I am sure you will sleep better at night...

Re:Yeah right (3, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41830215)

Honestly, given the nature of Chinese copying, plus the kind of overstated and shoddy output we've historically seen from State-Capitalist projects from Soviet governments, I think that the burden is more on the Chinese to make this boast a reality.

Building massive, highly functional supercomputers is not child's play, regardless of your beowulf clusters of hot grits down Natalie Portman's pants experience. It's one thing to cluster a few computers together and to have very specific programs that do very specific kinds of jobs, it's another matter entirely to have hundreds or thousands of microprocessors working in tandem and to be able to simply even allocate their tasks, let alone program for them. There's a reason why every city government has their own supercomputer, they're difficult.

The Chinese government has the resources to build such a computer, but only if they work against corruption and don't delude themselves when they have difficulties in an effort for every middle manager to safe face.

Re:Yeah right (5, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41830253)

Chinese technology has already gone much farther than you give them credit, and the natural tendency is for them to surpass stagnated US sooner or later. Considering how US has put in place so many impediments to innovation with the excuse of "helping innovation" that is just a matter of time.

And please, although the Chinese government is very corrupt, it is not more corrupt than US government or US corporations.

Re:Yeah right (1, Funny)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#41830417)

So when our genetic-supermen Mongoloid overlords rule the world, where will they steal their IP from then?

Re:Yeah right (2)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41831117)

Devo?

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831133)

the rebels?

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831599)

the rebels?

Um... no. The Rebels are the people who do the copying.

They copy your plans, sneak it away on a couple of droids, analyze it, find a tiny weakness, and exploit it. Usually the exploit ends up blowing everything up.

(But now that Darth Walt has acquired Lucasarts, the rebels will not get away with copying any plans. The copyright lawyers will shut them down for good!)

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831191)

Dude, I can tell you don't work in hightech, because half the people working in Intel are genetic-supermen Mongoloid.
I'm sure the land of their ancestral origin can generate the same half quantity of IP that currently comes out of Intel.

Re:Yeah right (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | about 2 years ago | (#41830529)

And please, although the Chinese government is very corrupt, it is not more corrupt than US government or US corporations.

It's very fashionable to overstate the problems of the US. Even with all it's problems it remains one of the most successful systems in the world on any number of levels.

That said, the rampant corruption on China isn't the kind that will interfere with things like building a supercomputer. Quite the opposite in fact. Need a neighborhood demolished or workers expropriated? No problem.

Where as the much smaller level of corruption in the US is almost precisely targeted to screw these kinds of projects. Congressman can't tack on some random spending for their district? Screw over the whole project just to build a reputation so everyone bends over next time.

Re:Yeah right (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41832571)

It indeed remains the most successful system in the world, but it is less successful than it used to be, and if US doesn't make a U-Turn soon it will keep getting less and less successful as time goes until it fades, as all empires.

Re:Yeah right (3, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#41830545)

the natural tendency is for them to surpass stagnated US sooner or later

Probably later. Its common for Chinese fanbois to paint the US as some stagnant, bloated, lethargic country, and in some ways it is, but not in technology. The US still leads the world in technical innovation, and China is still playing catchup, and will for some time. Militarily China is 20 years behind in submarine technology, has one aircraft carrier (Russian surplus), is just now introducing stealth technology in its aircraft, and still sends most of its elite students to US schools for hi-tech education. Oh, and lets not forget the army of hackers the Chinese government STILL employs to spy on American hi-tech corporations right now.

NATURAL tendancy? How is that? 100 years ago China was nation of drug addicts beholden to the British Empire. Natural tendancy my ass. The US is mired in debt and a stuck bureaucracy right now, but to count it out is a bit premature.

Re:Yeah right (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#41831945)

Most of Chinese products have minimal profit margins and low added value, they might make it 'in the volume', but that is ridiculous tactics..

Re:Yeah right (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41832027)

Militarily China is 20 years behind in submarine technology, has one aircraft carrier (Russian surplus), is just now introducing stealth technology in its aircraft,

And no military significant enemies where they'd be useful, nobody would be crazy enough to attack 1.35 billion people with tons of manufacturing capability and 240 nukes unless China goes on the aggressive and say invades Taiwan and the US gets involved. And in that case it won't be about subs or aircraft carriers or stealth planes, it'll be about the US having many, many thousands of nukes and how poker face they can play another Cuban missile crisis. Any other country? Draft a hundred million soldiers and do it the "hard" way. P.S. If they really wanted to make an arms rally, check how long it took Hitler to go from a demilitarized Germany to one armed to the teeth if you're planning a war for real.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830571)

Chinese technology? You mean gunpowder? I think you mean stolen American technology.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831251)

That doesn't make gunpowder UNstolen does it?

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830687)

Yup, the Chinese are successful because of a complete lack of government interference in the free market, unlike the US which is held back by massive and ridiculous regulation of everything every citizen does, even going so far as to censor ideas they don't like.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830735)

Chinese steal everything, so they will always be behind. And yes, the Chinese gov is way more corrupt than US. That's why you have pools of chromium extract sitting around in China. LOL, China will always be backwater.

Bull (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830807)

And please, although the Chinese government is very corrupt, it is not more corrupt than US government or US corporations.

Transparency International says otherwise. Way, way otherwise.

Re:Bull (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41832805)

Transparency International is hardly has a very narrow definition of corruption. It does not account for campaign donations, for example, which is the most common means of corruption used in US.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830989)

Chinese technology has already gone much farther than you give them credit, and the natural tendency is for them to surpass stagnated US sooner or later. Considering how US has put in place so many impediments to innovation with the excuse of "helping innovation" that is just a matter of time.

And please, although the Chinese government is very corrupt, it is not more corrupt than US government or US corporations.

You are not giving the Chinese government enough credit. In terms of corruption, I think it *is* more corrupt than US government.

Re:Yeah right (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41830999)

If the State is willing to imprison you as a middle manager for failure in a State-controlled project, you're inclined to demonstrate "success" even if it's not true. That could mean finding a way to lower the bar to define what had been a failure as a success, or it could be hiding the flaw or failure until it becomes someone else's problem.

Now, say you're the next someone else. You also have to find a way to demonstrate success, and even if you find the flaw you might not be able to push it back on the previous manager for the previous step. That means that you either have to fix the flaw, to attempt to rewrite the definition of success, or to push it and any other flaws in your step along.

Soviet systems and dictatorships (which since we've never actually seen true Marxist Communism anywhere in the world, and I don't think that it's actually achievable) seem to like to blame developers, scientists, and engineers when they don't succeed. In the US they might be fired, or if they actually broke the law by embezzling from a project they might be prosecuted, but generally there are not criminal ramifications for failure. Even Perkin-Elmer, who cost us millions and millions of dollars by screwing up the optics on the Hubble didn't get wiped off the planet, which they probably actually deserved.

So, when flaws are glossed over and passed along, the end product often reflects all the flaws. That can be a farming system, a tank, a plane, a gun, a computer, anything.

Re:Yeah right (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41832681)

Yes, communism doesn't really work. You won't get any argument from me here. But see, China is hardly like USSR anymore. It is transitioning to a capitalist dictatorship very quickly.

Re:Yeah right (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 2 years ago | (#41831033)

When "is building" becomes "has publicly demonstrated", I'll take notice.
I'll be even more impressed when I can buy said processor and use it in one of my designs. I suspect that may be a while.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831171)

They have already surpassed us in MEMS development and integration into the IC chip. What I find most impressive is the simple instruction set used to support all tiny little abucuses.

Re:Yeah right (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41831243)

US is nowhere near Chinese levels of corruption. Does Obama have anywhere near the wealth of Wen Jiabao? If he was corrupt to the same level he would.

Re:Yeah right (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41832627)

Add all your MPAAA bought senators and congressmen to the calculation and you will see how wrong you are.

Re:Yeah right (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 years ago | (#41832691)

And please, although the Chinese government is very corrupt, it is not more corrupt than US government or US corporations.

You crack me up sir. You make it sound like those are two different groups.

Re:Yeah right (2)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41830311)

I seriously like people who whistle in the dark to overcome their angst.

Re:Yeah right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830517)

There's no reason why the West shouldn't accept China as an equal. They're rational, hardworking, and contribute to modern life. They can be our friends.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the UK became worried and self-concious about the rise of Germany. Soon enough, they were diplomatic enemies, and then the war started. And yet, after the war - and its followup - the UK found out that life didn't end when Germany was as strong or stronger than them.

This is the beginning of the 21st century, and the US is worried and self-concious about the rise of China. Let's please not fuck things up like we did last time.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830743)

There's no reason why the West shouldn't accept China as an equal.

But can China? All indications from how they're treating the Tibetans says "no."

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41832683)

But it's not black-and-white: we've done bad things to other groups, too, but we always had our reasons, usually had good intentions, and always had dissenting voices. China has its reasons to hold Tibet - even as it suppresses culture, it's main intention is probably simply to keep order on the streets; and there are undoubtedly some in China who think Tibet should be allowed to go its own way.

This isn't to say there isn't a problem with China's control of Tibet, but it's silly to let that stand in the way of a larger peace, especially when there are so many things China can point to in our past (and present) to write off our national character.

Re:Yeah right (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41831267)

It wasn't just the rise of Germany as a Great Power, it was Germany's not so subtle designs on Britain's allies and economic interests.

Re:Yeah right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41832863)

Germany's designs came out of its rise as a Great Power, and its rise as a Great Power came out of fundamental economic and political forces - industrialization and unification.

In the end, there was nothing Britain could do to stop Germany's rise, so Britain should have accepted a diminished place in the world and come to a new understanding with Germany regarding the balance of power in the world.

This could have been achieved diplomatically, if both sides had been honest enough with themselves to see reality. In the end, the new balance came about anyway, except that it took two world wars (and a huge diminishment in Western Europe's influence) before that happened.

Today, as I see things, it is critical for America to come to terms with its own diminished place in the world. America will not be number 1, the only question is whether there will be a war before enough people in the US understand that.

And although America will not be number 1, there is no reason for despair - there is no basic reason for the quality-of-life of individual Americans to suffer. In a sense, the US simply has to pass the baton of World Policeman over to China - let China take on the role (and cost) of securing the shipping lanes, and putting down miscellaneous petty dictators.

Re:Yeah right (3, Informative)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#41830461)

Are you confusing them for a country that hasn't already stuck a machine right at the top of the top500 list?

Re:Yeah right (1)

Mephistophocles (930357) | about 2 years ago | (#41830463)

Honestly, given the nature of Chinese copying, plus the kind of overstated and shoddy output we've historically seen from State-Capitalist projects from Soviet governments, I think that the burden is more on the Chinese to make this boast a reality.

Ditto. Sounds like just more goose-stepping communist propaganda to me - if they can actually do it, good on them, but I'll believe it when I see it. For now, move along - nothing to see here.

Re:Yeah right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831021)

You are entitled to your opinions, but cutting through the poor logic and grammar, the very fact your tone elevated to antagonistic hypocritical drivel betrayed your underlying insecurity and anxiety that you perceived a larger penis approaching.
I bet you haven't spoke of Africans lately in the same tone as you have about the Chinese.
Why is that?Perhaps because you really don't think Africans represent a credible threat to western leadership?

Building massive, highly functional supercomputers is not child's play

I think the Chinese is well aware of this when their previous effort, the Tianhe-1, ascended to world #1 status for a period of time.

Go ahead and continue to divulge to the world that you have a small penis. But do not be deluded that people cannot read between the lines.

Re:Yeah right (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | about 2 years ago | (#41830113)

stringing them together and proving that 2+2=5.

Pentium 5s then?

Re:Yeah right (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#41832077)

They need this ridiculous CPU horse power due to the use of Python, yep, the chief scientist is too lazy to switch from the interpreted code, too bad..

Re:Yeah right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830247)

The ShenWei is a 16-core 65nm processor, this is just an example that shows how crappy Intel processors are.

Re:Yeah right (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830499)

You know a handful of British guys with a BBC Micro designed and taped out the ARM, right? That was 25 years ago, before FPGAs. I don't know why anyone thinks China in 2012 can't put together enough math & EE knowledge to prototype and tape out a microprocessor. Half the people on Slashdot could do it if they had state funding and limitless time. You could probably do it yourself, using Wikipedia to research architecture, and Xilinx WebPack to program the FPGAs. Start with an first-generation 32-bit RISC chip and go from there. Microprocessor design is not rocket science, it's just coding. The probability is, for every American smart enough to be a chip designer at Intel, there are four Chinese guys who are equally smart. Although three of them probably work at Intel already ...

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830683)

Not a matter of sale, but expertise.

China has cobbled together huge piles of their homegrown CPUs before, but it's never been particularly great. They never come anywhere close to the theoretical peak performance. (Well, no supercomputer ever does but the Chinese ones are orders of magnitudes further away than their western counterparts)

Yeah, they can create and put piles of CPUs on one room, but engineering as system to exploit all that silicon is a non trivial exercise. It's a problem that's taxed the literally the very best and brightest in the computing world since the very inception of the art.

Compared to the glue logic, the high speed interconnects, and the programming expertise the cpus themselves are trivial. (Someone once described old Cray supercomputers as massive I/O units with a cpu bolted on to the side)

Re:Yeah right (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41831593)

Regarding the summary, how is it "naturally" that they're using a custom CPU? I haven't followed the supercomputing field that well, but I was under the impression that most of them used "standard" CPUs like x86 and IBM PowerPC. The Titan SC uses Opterons and NVidia "GPUs". Well I just RTFA and it has been reported before; "A clear example of this [investment in homegrown tech] was when last year China's Sunway Bluelight supercomputer grabbed headlines for using a domestically developed processor, the Shenwei 1600."

Even more naturally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830011)

... it runs Linux.

Re:Even more naturally... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41830141)

But only Red Flag Linux

Re:Even more naturally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830347)

It's still better than the DHS's distro, False-Flag Linux.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Demestically developed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830019)

A domestically developed MIPS processor?

I wonder how much of that "domestic development" was looking at what foreign companies were making in their country and surrounding areas?

When you ship manufacturing overseas to countries with weak IP laws just to save a few bucks on labor (or hire H-1Bs to work here for the same reasons - knowledge goes back with them), well, karma's a bitch.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Re:Demestically developed? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41830145)

A domestically developed MIPS processor?

I wonder how much of that "domestic development" was looking at what foreign companies were making in their country and surrounding areas?

Has anybody even been working on a MIPS processor that they could outsource, for anything larger than little router boxes and things, since DEC died a horrible death ages ago?

Re:Demestically developed? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41830227)

since DEC died a horrible death ages ago?

What has DEC got to do with MIPS except that they used them in pre historic, or possibly paleological times. SGI worked on MIPS for years after DEC abandoned them. The lates generation R??000k were pretty snappy and scaled up very well.

Re:Demestically developed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830345)

This isn't a longsoon(sp) MIPS derivative, it's likely an alpha derivative as someone further up states as well as the wikipedia page linked in the summary.

Still though I wouldn't mind a a 16 core 1 ghz alpha with 16 gigs of quad channel DDR3. Sounds like it'd make an enjoyable gaming platform, assuming PCIe support.

Re:Demestically developed? (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#41830561)

I wouldn't be surprised at all to discover that their domestic MIPS chips are basically just process shrunk Alphas. You can get some mileage out of just shrinking the transistors used, but I already shudder for the power bill this supercomputer is going to have.

Re:Demestically developed? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#41830681)

Phillips TVs had MIPS in them last time I checked (1-2 years ago, just before Phillips changed their name (flogged the division off to some international consortium, IIRC)).

Re:Demestically developed? (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 2 years ago | (#41831161)

Like it or not, the Chinese have as much right to take what others have made and build on it as the US had for most of the last century. Remember, modern rocket technology was invented in Germany and the computer was invented in UK; and a lot of other things Americans think were their own inventions came from elsewhere.

Re:Demestically developed? (1)

matrim99 (123693) | about 2 years ago | (#41832801)

So because stealing things has happened in the past, it's OK to do now and in the future?

Unclean hands aren't an excuse for further wrongs.

Third world penis envy (0, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#41830051)

Third-world cretins with Third-world penis envy, who have this overwhelming need to "prove" how big and manly they are.

Muslims build really tall buildings (with Western technology and engineering).

These Chinese, it seems, prefer to build big computers. It's a natural consequence of having a basketcase dictatorship run by insecure little engineering majors.

Re:Third world penis envy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830153)

The Greater Internet Fuckwad theory proven for all time. What's your next ambition, P != NP?

Re:Third world penis envy (1)

evanism (600676) | about 2 years ago | (#41831017)

China is second world. Commies are second, democracies and those aligned are first, third is everyone else, it's political alignment, not social or economic.

But Americans will sell them the insurance (3, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#41830129)

Because that's all America does anymore.

Re:But Americans will sell them the insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830317)

No, as you aptly demonstrate, many Americans work very hard at bitching about how American doesn't 'make anything' anymore, facts be damned.

1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830139)

Isn't that about where we can model the human brain brute force?

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41830309)

Not even close.

You'll be lucky to simulate a gram of matter to any significant accuracy, and the higher-level simulations (neural networks, etc.) are seriously lacking in their ability, and to model how a brain of any significant size works you're honestly looking at supercomputers the size of the planet with current technology.

Just throwing power at a problem like modelling the brain isn't going to make anything happen any time soon.

If we can accurately model an ant's brain, down to the individual neuron, in the next 100 years or so, I'll be impressed. If we can make an artificial algorithm of any kind that can surpass the learning ability and intelligence of your average kid up to being a teenager (so at least ten years of TRAINING them to do every task a human could do, and them handling it as well as a teenager could, from ZERO initial information), with the largest computers in the world for the next 100 years, I'll be impressed.

A brain is more than N CPU's executing X amount of cycles per second. Simulating that in any significant or useful way puts orders of magnitude on a task already out of range of the human race as a whole dedicating itself to ONLY doing that.

Consider this: You put a computer on the Internet with a "blank" memory. By ten years, even with *some* guidance, if it manages to learn to read and understand most Wikipedia articles just by learning what's come through it, that is INCREDIBLY impressive.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41830391)

It took a long time for evolution to put a person together. A machine will get to our level a bit faster. My phone does face recognition and tracking in an instant. That still amazes and worries me.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (2)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41830633)

No, your phone does edge detection to get a series of numbers. There's a HUGE difference between that and actual intelligence.

I can program a computer in seconds to do maths that's beyond any human's capability to work out in their lifetime. That's not intelligence.

Now if you could say on each image that "this is me", "this isn't me", and it could build up a database of people that should and should not be authorised and OVER TIME learn on it's own without just having a bunch of statistics like "> 20% green = > 90% probability", then you'd have some mild form of intelligence. Otherwise you just have heuristics, which are 0.000001% of how actual intelligence operates.

What you're describing is a black box that gets an answer right in one scenario when fed with ALL available data. I have no data regarding what my father looks like if he dressed up in drag and shaved his head and I looked at him from the back - but I'd stand a pretty damn good chance of recognising him if he did that and my brain got that fresh, never-before-seen data.

Computers currently only form patterns that you inform them could exist in the data (in some way). They never form patterns of their own, but even pigeons are capable of that. Feed a pigeon at certain times of the day and it associates *SOMETHING* that happens at that time of day with feeding. Literally, it gets "superstitious" and does things like bang its head on a wall because that happened to coincide with feeding last time. It posits a theory, tests it repeatedly, takes that new data into account, and changes the theory as necessary. And that's a pigeon.

Computers, currently, do NOT do this, unless informed to do this, which is another matter entirely. Humans are not numbers-crunchers and computers are not hard-wired biological circuits joined by physical processes dependent on billions of interactions that change every second. Although either one can simulate the other, to some degree, it's difficult, long-winded, and like trying to play Half Life 3 on a Turing machine.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41831137)

The point was technology (my phone) hasn't been in development for over a billion years. Tommy Flowers only put Colossus together in the 1930s. All you've said is true given less than 100 years of effort. I impressed that a tiny tiny phone does "edge detection". I stopped reading after, I can't help if you're not happy.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830395)

If we can accurately model an ant's brain, down to the individual neuron, in the next 100 years or so, I'll be impressed.

If you can do that without violating any patents, EVERYONE would be impressed.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41830451)

You seem to be assuming that modern jetliners flap their wings to fly. Somehow I'm not sure that the engineering approach to mimicking nature involves copying nature piece by piece. Therefore I'm not sure whether simulating anything to the degree you mention is anything else than a matter of idle curiosity. It may still turn out that we may not need that at all.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41830725)

You don't carbon-copy things. That just makes a brain, or a virtual brain, not a computer-that's-as-good-as-a-brain, which is what we're discussing.

But the neuronal connections (10,000 per neuron, constantly changing) and time-slices that you'd need to get even close to simulating the number of interactions in an ant's brain when it smells a certain scent-trail? You might JUST about be able to approach that complexity if you turned the whole Earth into a computer with the nanoscale technology.

It's not a question of brute-force, or shrinking down, it's seriously an order-of-magnitude number of orders-of-magnitude out in terms of the complexity required to do something useful (and the criteria for that I'm setting deliberately low).

Sure, there are more efficient ways of doing things (hence computers manipulate numbers faster than anyone on earth even could), but this isn't about efficiency. This is about complexity, which is the opposite end of the scale. We just don't have enough complexity in any earth-based system built on technology big enough to put into chips and powered by electricity to do anything close to even a theoretically-more-efficient amount of intelligence.

The scale is immense. Of course, we can perform huge numbers of amazing tricks (face-recognition, etc.) but in terms of getting somewhere where we can replace a human with a computer on any significant task and not notice? Orders of magnitude away.

You're talking billions of computers with 10's of thousands of connections to each other than can be programmatically changed at will and operate at the speed-of-light to even be able to approach the equivalent of a brain of a small mammal, if you're lucky. It's a different kind of technology, yes, but it's the complexity of what we have in our heads and the complexity of "emulating" that via what we have in our computers that really blow the idea out of the water for centuries to come.

Hell, a couple of large A* searches can pull a modern computer to its knees with even the most efficient code. And, in terms of complexity, that's nothing and is optimised to their preferred method of data processing.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41831147)

But the neuronal connections (10,000 per neuron, constantly changing) and time-slices that you'd need to get even close to simulating the number of interactions in an ant's brain when it smells a certain scent-trail? You might JUST about be able to approach that complexity if you turned the whole Earth into a computer with the nanoscale technology.

I'm sorry, but I'm not buying that. Are you suggesting that the difference of the density of features between brain tissue and anything that we can reasonably manufacture is on the scale of 10^10? (6*10^24 kg for Earth and 10^-6 kg for an ant brain, with negligible difference in density between the two, so 30 orders of magnitude of difference in volume) This is ridiculous, that would mean that we would have to simulate a single neuron (20 um?) using a 100km-sized device. That seems really ridiculous, no matter how complex a single neuron's interaction with the environment is.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 years ago | (#41832271)

You are way off. 1st off the neuro nets in use today doing amazing things are based off a really really simplistic abstracted concept of how neurons work. You don't have to simulate the whole thing, you can crudely approximate it and get world changing results and we've already done this using a concept from the 1940s. With advances in our knowledge we can make the approximation more accurate without simulating all the details--- in fact, I worked with a guy for a short bit who was working on a mainframe that was simulating 100s of neurons down to the ion flow and chemistry and they were not doing it thinking we'll buy a bigger computer someday, they were doing it to discover more which would be used in an abstraction that didn't require all the complexity of the physical world and millions of years of attempts to find - it is much better for a digital machine to do digital work not to simulate analog which is what you are thinking of. We don't simulate analog on computers; we convert analog into digital then use digital techniques to simulate the analog - usually highly abstracted as well -- because an approximate result is enough (it is analog, there is no exact result you can only ever hope to approximate it.) Given the rate of high-resolution analog simulation of brains going on now it wouldn't take a planet sized computer to do it but it is out of practical reach for now.

They'll simulate a human brain scan SOON. it won't do much for quite a while afterwards - once it does anything meaningful we'll read the press release. The first ones will be simple neurons networked to model the brain scan; something that is probably possible today if somebody would fund it. Brain imagining should be far enough, like probably in the last few years. I don't think a cloned brain network will work because that network is heavily influenced by external factors (like behavior at operating temp) which is why people are trying to improve the abstract model and simplify it... it could be the 1st ones are still dead simple but they know how to adjust the scanned brain's network to compensate. Me, I think many of those difficult problems will be solved by AI powered tools. We you do get something that begins to approximate a mind I think the scifi people will be wrong, the machines will be erratic and insane. It'll take a long time before they are functional (even then likely by self-training simulations which would still produce insane AIs that are not predictable.) If you mess with AI programming a bit you'll get what I'm talking about. Realistically, the practical AI is what the effort is put into-- the people who think of AI as Applied Intelligence because that is mostly what is going on - we can grasp and understand narrow niches like spam filtering, plus it produces useful stuff now - the old AI stuff likely will never grasp it all, or if they do they can't know they actually achieved it. Not that such research is not beneficial long term.

Re:1000 pflops is 1 exaflop right? (1)

etash (1907284) | about 2 years ago | (#41831341)

your "assumptions" and "i will be impressed if..." are overly pessimistic. ever heard of http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/ [bluebrain.epfl.ch] ?

MIPS and 5x (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41830379)

5x faster sounds ambitious, but not off the wall for 2015. It gives them 3 years during which time one might expect a 4x increase in speed. I expect that they will get the top spot for a bit before being passed by something else relatively quickly.

The top10 is quite interesting.

There's a bunch of PPC BlueGene, UltraSparc VIIIfx, Xeons, Opterons and GPUs.

As for the processors, this will be an interesting workout for them. I think like the UltraSparc VIIIfx, it will be hard for them to match the Xeon or Opteron for a while, but for supercomputing it is somewhat easier since brute FPU power works well which means you can tack on a huge vector FPU onto a relatively pedestrian CPU for excellent results.

The other thing of course is the interconnect. The VIIIfx got an extra really good boost by having a very good interconnect on die, giving it an exceptional rmax/rpeak efficiency.

I haven't seenmuch about a domestically developed killer interconnect yet, but they may very well have one which is good enough, or in this round they may go for something COTS.

The Chinese government has been pushing domestically produced processors for a while now, and they have been improving from a very los start, very quickly. I don't doubt that they will catch up in many areas. IPC on a general purpose CPU is a game of diminishing returns.

100% correct (1, Funny)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#41830439)

And any answer it gives will be deemed 100% correct, even if it's not. Get used to, "2 + 2 = 5, and it always has. How dare you question the accuracy of our machine!!"

I Spy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830473)

The reason for the size is that the censor chips will have to watch what the working chips try to share with other working chips.

NO Worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41830625)

I'm sure the US government will borrow some more money from China to build a bigger supercomputer.

Re:NO Worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41832751)

You do realize of course that money is a social construct and is actually 100% unnecessary.

Because they're not going to let us do to them (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 2 years ago | (#41831091)

And, naturally, it's planned to use a domestically developed MIPS processor

Because they're not going to let us do to them what they know they've done to us.

Hey free trade everybody.. get your free trade riiiight over here! Free movement of goods services and people ... hey ... whatsamatter with you??? Doncha' love FREEDOM????

Re:Because they're not going to let us do to them (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41832803)

As long as there are companies trying to reverse engineer the Chinese chips then if there is a backdoor, it will be found. If a backdoor is found it will be really damaging to their reputation.

It's one thing to be suspected of espionage, it is another thing altogether to be caught putting backdoors into their products.

By 2015 (1)

stox (131684) | about 2 years ago | (#41831097)

We should be introducing out first Exaflop machines.

The rest of the story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831383)

Its estimated the installation to house the system and its hardware will require 40000 acres of forest to be leveled and cleared.102 nuclear power plants are under construction in the surround area. Chinese officials are still working on a method of cooling the supercomputer.

To preserve national security (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#41831485)

I wonder if the chinese will impose an export ban, preventing anyone "leaking" their technology to the USA?

Now that's a FIREWALL! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#41831609)

That's some serious content filtering they got going on. Complete with chastising AI.

FLOPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41831933)

There is no such thing as a petaflop. FLOPS is both the singular and the plural of the term.

Don't worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41832609)

...they'll plug it in, flip the switch and nothing will happen.

Any damn fool can create a CPU... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41832651)

It's getting the data there that's the rub. I'll bet most of these behemouths (misspelled by design) spend most of their time in idle loops waiting for something to work on...

BITD, I was working on a CRAY "mumble". It had a CDC 7600 for a front end to route data to and from it. We'd spend most of our allotted run time moving data into and out of the machine. The actual computation time was probably an order of magnitude less than the data movement phase (note the singular).

Classical Computing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41832947)

Is so... 2012.

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