Chinas First Petaflop Supercomputer

China’s fastest super computer “Tianhe”, meaning Milky Way, is seen in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province, Oct. 29, 2009. The National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) unveiled Thursday China’s fastest supercomputer, which could rival the world’s most powerful computing devices. The supercomputer is theoretically able to do more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second (one petaflop) at peak speed.(Xinhua/He Shuyuan)

The National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) unveiled Thursday China’s first petaflop supercomputer.

NUDT president Zhang Yulin said the 155-ton system, with 103 refrigerator-like cabinets lined up on an area of about 1,000 square meters, is expected to process seismic data for oil exploration, conduct bio-medical computing and help design aerospace vehicles.

China’s national high-technology research and development program and the Binhai New Area, a major economic development zonein the northern port city of Tianjin jointly financed Tianhe, which cost at least 600 million yuan (88.24 million U.S. dollars).

Tianhe’s peak performance reaches 1.206 petaflops, and it runs at 563.1 teraflops (1,000 teraflops equals one petaflop) on the Linpack benchmark, which was originally developed by U.S. computer scientist Jack Dongarra and has become an internationally recognized method to measure a supercomputer’s real performance in practical use.

The June 2009 top 500 supercomputer list is here The Tianhe supercomputer would be about 5th on the June 2009 list.

Tianhe is equipped with 6,144 Intel CPUs and 5,120 AMD GPUs.

Of the world’s fastest 500 supercomputers, the United States alone has invented 291, including the top 10, Europe has 145 and Asia 49, the June World Top 500 List said.

In the same list, the Chinese mainland has 20 high-performance computers, with CPUs all supplied by foreign manufacturers.

China’s Dawning Information Industry Company is attempting to build its own supercomputer that overcomes the petaflop barrier by 2010.