China building $145 million superconducting computer that is up to 1000 times more energy efficient

China is building a 1 billion yuan (US$145.4 million) superconducting computer. It will be able to help develop new weapons, breaking codes and analyzing intelligence.

It will use supercooled circuits made of superconducting materials. It will use 40 to 1000 times less energy.

The plan is to make a prototype of the machine as early as 2022.

It should be able to achieve processor speeds of 770 gigahertz or higher versus current commercial processor at 5 Ghz.

This will not be a quantum computer.

Xlichip, an electronics company based in Shenzhen, is working on superconducting chips. A field-programmable gate array (FPGA), a reconfigurable chip could be used to simulate and test the design of a large-scale, sophisticated integrated circuit.

In 2017, chinese researchers realized mass production of computer chips with 10,000 superconducting junctions.

Chen Quan, a supercomputer scientist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said superconducting was often mentioned in academic discussions on the development of the next generation of high-performance computers.

China was building more than one exascale computer and it is possible that one of the exaFLOP supercomputers will be superconductive.

The US has created 800,000 junctions in a superconducting chip. This was a joint research team at Stony Brook University and MIT squeezed into a chip.

The US also has awarded contracts to research teams at IBM, Raytheon-BBN and Northrop Grumman to build a superconducting computer.