US Supercomputer Chip ban delayed China’s 100 petaFLOP computer by 8 months and contributed to Intel laying off 12,000 employees

In April 2015, the US government refused to let Intel help China update the world’s biggest supercomputer. The Tianhe-2 used 80,000 Intel Xeon chips to generate a computational capacity of more than 33 petaflops. In 2015, the Chinese machine was due to undergo a series of upgrades to boost its number-crunching abilities past 110 petaflops. The upgrades would depend largely on new Intel Xeon chips.

Several Chinese supercomputer sites were expected to order some 250+ PFLOPS of compute in the next few years (around 500,000 top-end Broadwell-EP Xeon E5v4 processors, or approximately $1 billion high margin list price).

Next month (June 2016) China will reveal an upgraded 100+ petaFLOP Tianhe-2. The US ban on Intel Xeon chips delayed China’s supercomputer upgrade by about 8 months.

In April 2016, Intel announced the layoff of 12,000 employees.

Intel had been leaning on PCs for years, watching ruefully as smartphones, tablets and other new technologies sprang up – all without Intel chips. Intel declared it’s letting go of the past in PCs in hopes of a brighter future in data centers, wearable computers and other emerging gadgets.

However, normally Intel would try to transition without laying off staff. 12,000 people is pretty close to what would be expected from having $1 billion less revenue per year.

Intel did not get $1 billion in likely annual ongoing supercomputer chip sales and now has two strong supercomputer chip competitors in China. China has one supercomputer ARM chip company and another Alpha chip company.

There is open source version of the ARM chip.

British company ARM Holdings develops the architecture and licenses it to other companies, who design their own products that implement one of those architectures—​​including systems-on-chips (SoC) that incorporate memory, interfaces, radios, etc. It also designs cores that implement this instruction set and licenses these designs to a number of companies that incorporate those core designs into their own products.

SOURCES – Wikipedia, VRWorld