China’s National University of Defense Technology may have designed the world’s fastest supercomputer with speeds 43 per cent greater than previous systems, said Nvidia Corp, which supplied parts for the machine.
The university’s Tianhe-1A set a performance record of 2.507 petaflops, or more than 2 quadrillion calculations per second, Sumit Gupta, senior product manager for Nvidia, said on a conference call with reporters. That would make it faster than any system on the global Top 500 list of supercomputers published in June, Gupta said.
China is investing in supercomputers to improve research and simulation for climate modelling, genomics, alternative energy, seismic imaging and defence. Since China began investing in the technology in 2002, it has risen to third globally in overall high-performance computing power, trailing the US and the European Union.
“They’ve basically recognised the fact that they need to invest in high-performance computing to continue to advance their technology, to continue to advance their research and science,” Gupta said. “This is recognition that the United States had about 50 years ago,” he added.