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Will China Win the Race to Exascale?

Over at Computerworld, Patrick Thibidous writes that China has impressed analysts with its rocket-speed commitment to HPC. And with budget cuts threatening to stall next-generation supercomputer development in the U.S., one has to wonder if the Chinese beat us to Exascale with home-grown technologies.

For its Tianhe-1A system, China turned to U.S. chips — Intel’s Xeon processors — but used a China-developed interconnect. With its Sunway BlueLight supercomputer, China used its own chip, the Shen Wie SW 1600 microprocessor, but with InfiniBand interconnects. “You can see what they’re doing,” said Beckman, explaining that China’s developers reduce risk by mixing and matching standard technologies with homegrown approaches. “Now, you can see what’s going to happen,” said Beckman. “You take your homegrown CPU, the homegrown network, and you put them together and you have a machine that from soup to nuts is a technical achievement for China and is really competitive.”

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