China Has Made Its First Supercomputer

China has made its first supercomputer based on Chinese microprocessor chips, an advance that surprised high-performance U.S. computing specialists. Sunway BlueLight MPP is a new supercomputer that was installed in September at the National Supercomputer Center in Jinan, located in eastern China. The Sunway system is capable of performing up to 1,000 trillion calculations each second, where a petaflop will more or less place it among the 20 fastest computers in the world. Not only that, this was made possible thanks to 8,700 or so ShenWei SW1600 microprocessors that were designed at a Chinese computer institute and manufactured in Shanghai. 

According to Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee and a leader of the Top500 project, a list of the world’s fastest computers, this is a bit of a surprise. Last fall, another Chinese based supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, created an international sensation when it was briefly ranked as the world’s fastest, before it was displaced in the spring by a rival Japanese machine, the K Computer, designed by Fujitsu.