China to test own CPU in supercomputer this year

China to test own CPU in supercomputer this year

Summary: China will install CPUs developed by government-backed research institutions into a test supercomputer by the end of 2011.The Loongson microchips will underpin the Dawning 6000 high-performance computing system, which is scheduled to be available for tasks as early as the summer of 2011, China's state-owned People's Daily Online publication reported on Monday.

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China will install CPUs developed by government-backed research institutions into a test supercomputer by the end of 2011.

The Loongson microchips will underpin the Dawning 6000 high-performance computing system, which is scheduled to be available for tasks as early as the summer of 2011, China's state-owned People's Daily Online publication reported on Monday.

"Our information industry was using foreign technology," Hu Weiwu, the chip's chief designer, said in the article. "However, just like a country's industry cannot always depend on foreign steel and oil, China's information industry needs its own CPU."

The Dawning 6000 will use up to 10,000 Loongson microchips and will eventually have a computing speed of "more than 1,000 trillion operations a second", according to Weiwu. 1,000 trillion operations are equal to a petaflop.

For perspective, the Chinese Tianhe-1A leads the Top500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers, with a consistent speed of 2.5 petaflops and a theoretical peak of 4.7 petaflops.

The Tianhe-1A, which took its lead in November, uses a proprietary Chinese interconnect, 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs and 14,336 Intel Xeon X5670 CPUs to achieve its world-beating speed.

"It still needs another decade before China-made chips meet the needs of the domestic market. Hopefully after two decades, we will be able to sell our China-made CPUs to the US just like we are selling clothes and shoes," Hu said.

In September, IBM's vice president of deep computing, David Turek, prophesised that "within a year there will be more Top500 systems in China than there are in Europe collectively."

Topic: Storage

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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