China’s Progress in Exascale Computing


Exascale computing (quicker than 1 billion billion operations per second) is well accepted as the next crown of supercomputing.

Its research and development (R&D) plan is the forefront of creation and competition of high-end information technology. Both the US and Japan have drawn up their exascale computing plan for the production of an exascale computer by 2020 or later.

Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report “Breaking boycott! Tianhe 3 exascale computing prototype has passed acceptance test” that China drew up a plan in 2016 on 2-phase development of exascale computers. The first phase focuses on the research of key technology for exascale computer with the production of 3 prototypes of exascale computer while the second phase will be the research and development of exascale computers.

Lead by the National University of Defense Technology, China has developed Tianhe 3 exascale prototype system and has it passed acceptance test on July 22. China has thus begun the second phase of essential R&D of Tianhe 3 exascale computer 200 times quicker and with memory capacity 100 times larger than Tianhe 1.

Since 2015, the US has banned the export of supercomputer CPU to China to prevent Tianhe from maintaining its no. one ranking among supercomputers in the world. However, China is entirely able to obtain crown technology on its own. It has now succeeded in mastery of five major homegrown core technologies of Tianhe series of supercomputers: the CPU, accelerating CPU, the interlink communication router and interlink interface chips and the operation system (the software).

At present, the Tianhe 3 exascale prototype system has achieved 4 major homegrown creations, i.e. the three chips of the “Maichang” multi-core processor (Matrix-2000+), interlinking interface chip and router chip, 4 kinds of calculation, storage and services knobs, more than 10 PCP circuit boards, various new-type hardware subsystems and various software subsystems.

That will enable Tianhe 3 exascale computer to do lots of jobs such as Large-scale space and aviation data wind tunnel, weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, excessively large scale calculation and simulation for life scientific research, the development of a new generation of artificial intelligence, etc.

Those, including the exascale supercomputer are indeed crown jewels of technology. Can China steal those crown jewels from the US? Sorry, the US is also developing such technologies but cannot be sure to achieve results before China. Can China steal from the US what the US does not have?

Therefore, to stop China obtaining those crown jewels no one in the world has now, US only and last resort is to start a trade war with China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/gt/2018-07/2902117.html#p=1.


China Has Led the World in Supercomputers over Past 2 Years


The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer when it was introduced in Wuxi, China, last December. At the time, it was the fastest computer in the world.CreditImaginechina, via Associated Press

New York Times says in its report “China Extends Lead as Most Prolific Supercomputer Maker” yesterday that the US had dominated the world supercomputer market for years, but two years ago China became an equal rival to the US.

The US regains the top ranking in making the fastest supercomputer this year but China remains world leader in making supercomputers with 206 supercomputers in the new list of top 500 supercomputers in the world much more than America’s 124.

The report stresses the importance of software for supercomputers, without which supercomputers cannot play their role in spite of their fast hardware.

However, the report says that China is also catching up in software development. It quotes Rick Stevens, an associate director of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois as saying, “The flagship centers in China today are surprisingly similar to ours”.

Summary by Chan Kai Yee of New York Times report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/25/technology/china-supercomputers.html.


The US again has the world’s most powerful supercomputer


US Summit supercomputere. Images: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The US just grabbed back the crown from China with the AI-focused Summit.

Kris Holt, @krisholt
06.08.18 in Gadgetry

The Department of Energy pulled back the curtain on the world’s most powerful supercomputer Friday. When Summit is operating at max capacity, it can run at 200 petaflops — that’s 200 quadrillion calculations per second. That smokes the previous record holder, China’s Sunway TaihuLight (which has a 93 petaflop capacity). Summit is also about seven times faster than Titan, the previous US record holder which is housed at the same Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee. For perspective, in one hour, Summit can solve a problem that it would take a desktop computer 30 years to crack.

Summit’s 4,608 servers, which take up the size of two tennis courts, house more than 9,000 22-core IBM Power9 processors and more than 27,000 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. Cooling the system takes 4,000 gallons of water a minute and Summit uses enough power to run 8,100 homes.

There’s a lot more to Summit than simply snatching back a record China’s held for five years. It was designed for artificial intelligence operations, and can use machine learning and deep learning to power research into health, physics and climate modeling, among other domains.

Scientists have already used Summit to run what they say is the first exascale scientific calculation. That’s one billion billion calculations per second (or one exaop). Summit almost doubled that, as it ran at 1.88 exaops to analyze millions of genomes; the supercomputer can hit 3.3 exaops using mixed precision calculations. The US is aiming to build a fully capable exascale computing ecosystem for research by 2021, and Summit is a step towards that.

Upcoming projects include analyzing exploding stars (or supernovas) to find out how elements like gold moved through the universe, and running simulations on new types of materials such as superconductors. Scientists also plan to look for relationships between cancer factors like genes, biological markers and environment by crunching vast reams of health data. Researchers will use Summit’s power to probe other disease markers, such as for Alzheimer’s, heart disease and addiction. “Summit is enabling a whole new range of science that was simply not possible before it arrived,” Oak Ridge computational biologist Dan Jacobson said in a release.

There’s a battle between not only the US and China, but Europe, Japan and other nations to build better supercomputers. The machines aren’t just focused on health and environmental research; supercomputers are used for aircraft design and developing nuclear weapons too, so there’s a lot at stake.

Source: engadget.com “The US again has the world’s most powerful supercomputer”

Note: This is engadget.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Big Lead over US in Supercomputers


Sunway Taihulight, the fastest supercomputer in the world. Photo: Xinhua

According to SCMP’s report “Supercomputer superpower China takes biggest lead over US in 25 years” on yesterday, in recently released TOP500 list “China had 202 of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers compared with the US total of 143”.

SCMP says, “China’s Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2 are the two fastest supercomputers in the rankings, with Switzerland taking third place, Japan fourth and the US fifth.”

Source: SCMP “Supercomputer superpower China takes biggest lead over US in 25 years” (summary by Chan Kai Yee, full text can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2119906/supercomputer-superpower-china-takes-biggest-lead-over.


China’s Supercomputers Rank 1st and 2nd, America’s Rank Falls to 5th


China’s Taihulight supercomputer. Global Times’ photo.

According to the 49th edition of TOP500 list released on June 19 in conjunction with the opening session of ISC High Performance conference in Frankfurt, Germany, China’s Sunway TaihuLight is “far and away the most powerful number-cruncher on the planet” “(w)ith a Linpack performance of 93 petaflops”.

China’s Tianhe-2, (Milky Way-2), ranks the 2nd with a Linpack mark of 33.9 petaflops.

Swiss Piz Daint ranks the 3rd with 19.6 petaflops.

America’s Mira (8,6 petaflops), an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, ranks only the 5th.

Source ISC TOP500 Team “TOP500 List Refreshed, US Edged Out of Third Place” (summary by Chan Kai Yee of the report, full text of which can be found at https://www.top500.org/news/top500-list-refreshed-us-edged-out-of-third-place/.


F-35 Simply Unable to Attack Chinese Homeland


Supercomputers play a vital role in the design, development and analysis of almost all modern weapons systems, said a report by the National Security Agency-Energy Department based on an assessment of China’s new supercomputer called the TaihuLight. Photo by: David Mercer

Some people boast F-35’s network function to share information with other F-35s and believe F-35s can penetrate China’s air defense by J-20 that is designed to dominate Chinese airspace. I have pointed out in my previous post that for J-20 network with its ground command center is much more important as there is China’s supercomputer there to analyze information not only from J-20s but also China’s ground and navy’s air defense system and give instruction to J-20s to hit F-35s before F-35s have enough time to analyze the information from their network.

F-35’s computer is but a child’s toy compared with the supercomputer in China’s ground command center.

Now, US military expert Bill Gertz’s article “Chinese supercomputers threaten U.S. security” on May 3, not only confirms my opinion but even quotes a recent report of joint National Security Agency-Energy Department study as saying, “China is eclipsing the United States in developing high-speed supercomputers used to build advanced weapons, and the loss of American leadership in the field poses a threat to U.S. national security.”

Now, its Chinese supercomputers that threaten the US instead F-35s threatening China!

Why?

“Supercomputers play a ‘vital role’ in the design, development and analysis of almost all modern weapons systems, including nuclear weapons, cyberwarfare capabilities, ships, aircraft, communications security, missile defense, precision-strike capabilities and hypersonic weapons, the report said.”

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Times’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/may/3/china-supercomputers-threaten-us-security/.


China to Set up Space and Deep Sea Stations, Develop Quantum Computer


According to news.cn’s report on July 23, in a routine policy meeting on July 22, China’s State Council gave a briefing on China’s plan on creation and innovation for the coming five years.

In deep sea, China will establish a deep sea space station to safeguard China’s sovereignty and focus on the research and development of deep sea equipment and sensing network.

In space, China will set up its space station for manned exploration of the moon and begin the work for its first Mars exploration.

China will maintain its number one position in supercomputers and begin development of quantum computer.

In addition, China will enhance exploration deep in the earth for mineral resources and the safe exploitation of urban space.

Source: news.cn “China starts research and development of quantum computer and uses deep sea space station to safeguard its sovereignty” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


China Tops Global Supercomputer Speed List for 7th Year


By joe mcdonald, ap business writer BEIJING — Jun 20, 2016, 5:55 AM ET

A Chinese supercomputer has topped a list of the world’s fastest computers for the seventh straight year — and for the first time the winner uses only Chinese-designed processors instead of U.S. technology.

The announcement Monday is a new milestone for Chinese supercomputer development and a further erosion of past U.S. dominance of the field.

Last year’s Chinese winner in the TOP500 ranking maintained by researchers in the United States and Germany slipped to No. 2, followed by a computer at the U.S. government’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Also this year, China displaced the United States for the first time as the country with the most supercomputers in the top 500. China had 167 systems and the United States had 165. Japan was a distant No. 3 with 29 systems.

Supercomputers are one of a series of technologies targeted by China’s ruling Communist Party for development and have received heavy financial support. Such systems are used for weather forecasting, designing nuclear weapons, analyzing oilfields and other specialized purposes.

“Considering that just 10 years ago, China claimed a mere 28 systems on the list, with none ranked in the top 30, the nation has come further and faster than any other country in the history of supercomputing,” the TOP500 organizers said in a statement.

This year’s champion is the Sunway TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, west of Shanghai, according to TOP500. It was developed by China’s National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology using entirely Chinese-designed processors.

The TaihuLight is capable of 93 petaflops, or quadrillion calculations per second, according to TOP500. It is intended for use in engineering and research including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics.

Its top speed is about five times that of Oak Ridge’s Titan, which uses Cray, NVIDIA and Opteron technology.

Other countries with computers in the Top 10 were Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

The TaihuLight is due to be introduced Tuesday at the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt by the director of the Wuxi center, Guangwen Yang.

“As the first No. 1 system of China that is completely based on homegrown processors, the Sunway TaihuLight system demonstrates the significant progress that China has made in the domain of designing and manufacturing large-scale computation systems,” Yang was quoted as saying in the TOP500 statement.

The TaihuLight uses Chinese-developed ShenWei processors, “ending any remaining speculation that China would have to rely on Western technology to compete effectively in the upper echelons of supercomputing,” TOP500 said in a statement.

The second-fastest computer, the Tianhe-2 at the National Supercomputer Center in the southern city of Guangzhou, is capable of 33 petaflops. It uses chips made by Intel Corp.

Among countries with the most computers on the top 500 list, Germany was in fourth place with 26 systems, France was next with 18, followed by Britain with 12.

The TOP500 is compiled by Erich Strohmaier of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Martin Meuer of Prometeus GmbH, a German technology company. Another contributor, Hans Meuer of Germany’s University of Mannheim, died in 2014.

Source: ABC News “China Tops Global Supercomputer Speed List for 7th Year”