China is testing two prototype candidates for exascale supercomputers

China on Sunday put into operation a prototype supercomputer that will test out possible technologies and architectures for an exaFLOP supercomputer in 2020 or 2021.

The Sunway exascale computer prototype was developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC), the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan, east China’s Shandong Province, and the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao).

The NRCPC led the team that developed Sunway TaihuLight, crowned the world’s fastest computer two years in a row at both the 2016 and 2017 International Supercomputing Conferences held in Frankfurt, Germany.

“The Sunway exascale computer prototype is very much like a concept car that can run on road,”said Yang Meihong, director of the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan.

“We expect to build the exascale computer in the second half of 2020 or the first half of 2021,” said Yang.

Another prototype exascale supercomputer Tianhe-3 successfully completed acceptance tests on July 22. Its final version is expected to come out in 2020.

Tianhe-3 uses three domestically produced high-performance computing and communication chips. It will be 200 times faster and have 100 times more storage capacity than the Tianhe-1 — China’s first petascale supercomputer which reached 2.5 petaFLOPS.

The two prototypes marked a further step towards China’s successful development of the next-generation supercomputer.

Currently the United States has the fastest supercomputer in the world. The Summit supercomputers runs at 200 petaFLOPS.

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