China has recently created the most powerful supercomputer in the world. It has surpassed what is now the 2nd most powerful supercomputer, which was also made by Chinese scientists, to become #1. It’s quite a machine, as you could imagine. It has 10,649,600 cores to power it’s 125 petaflop theoretical peak performance and 1.31 petaflops of memory. To give you a comparison, your computer at home probably uses four cores. If you haven’t even heard of a petaflop, don’t worry, it’s nothing like the gigabytes and terabytes we are used to dealing with when searching for consumer based technology. It’s actually a calculation that is based on how many operations a computer can perform in one second. Yes, that’s a whole lot of calculations!
The new computer is called Sunway TaihuLight and it furthers China’s superiority in the computational “arms race” to build the best super computer. In the beginning of the race, China lagged far behind, with no supercomputer powers, but now, they have the most supercomputers and the three fastest. The most impressive thing about the Sunway is that it is also made with Chinese made computer chips and components signaling an end to their reliance on US tech from firms like IBM.
China will be on top – at least until 2018 when US companies expect to produce a machine that will range from 150-250 petaflops. Many industry analysts believe that is more than enough time for China to surpass this goal easily, given their advanced place in this particular segment of the industry. The makers of TaihuLight plan to use this computer for earth-wide weather forecasting, and analyzing big data, proving that having the most powerful computer is more than just a title, it is actually useful for things that can help everyone in the world.