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China's National Processor Could Bring MIPS Back to the TOP500

China is hard at work on a “national processor” that could enable the Asian country to build a homegrown supercomputer to rank near the top of the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest machines. Details of the chip were presented by lead architect Weiwu Hu at the recent Hot Chips conference at Stanford University.

Hu, lead architect of the Godson project, said via e-mail that China’s Dawning 6000 supercomputer, originally slated for completion in mid-2010, will instead debut in 2011, using the Godson 3B. Halfhill calculates that the Dawning supercomputer will use CPUs that are slower than fastest Intel chips. However, it could still rank on the Top 500 list of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world–a significant coup for China’s fledgling electronics industry. “Just getting into the Top 500 with a native processor is a worthy accomplishment,” says Industry Analyst Tom Halfhill.

The Godson processor uses a special MIPS instruction set enhanced by engineers at China’s Institute of Computing Technology to include 300 additional instructions devoted to vector processing, When completed, the Dawning 6000 could be the first MIPS-based supercomputer on the Top 500 list since 2004.

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