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.
The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer, located at the state-funded Chinese Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, is more than twice as powerful as the previous winner, according to TOP500, a research organization that compiles the rankings twice a year. The machine is powered by a SW26010 processor designed by Shanghai High Performance IC Design Center.
Previous supercomputer winners have had processors built on U.S. technology from Intel Corp. — the world’s largest chipmaker — International Business Machines Corp. or a derivative of Sun Microsystems designs.
The top position was previously occupied by Tianhe-2, built on Intel chips by China’s National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou.
Supercomputers are viewed in scientific circles as an indicator of national technology leadership, and they are vital for research in areas ranging from the development of new weapons and medicines, to the design of cars and consumer products. American computing experts and business executives have warned for years that leadership in supercomputing is vital to a range of national interests.
Other chipmakers such as Qualcomm Inc. are working with Chinese organizations to build processors in the country. Technology provider ARM Holdings Plc, whose products are at the heart of most smartphones, is also trying to grab a slice of the Chinese market