back to article China takes HPC heavyweight title

If it wasn't immediately obvious that China is a superpower, today's announcement that the Tianhe-1A CPU-GPU hybrid is the most powerful supercomputer in the world - and by a comfortable margin - will make it abundantly clear. China wants to move from being a manufacturing powerhouse to being a full player in the 21st century …


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  1. Paul_Murphy

    Well done China.

    I wonder how long it will be before the yen, rather than the dollar, becomes the new global standard currency.


    1. AceBitbucket


      Yen = Japan

      Yuan = China

      (sorry to be pedantic can't help it, really)

      1. Paul_Murphy

        my bad.

        Typed before checking - thanks for the correction.


    2. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

      China doesn't want that to happen

      As somebody else already pointed out, it's the Yuan (Renminbi) not the Yen.

      Also, if you pay attention to the news about the currently brewing "currency war" (media words not mine), you can read ad nausea why China actually doesn't want to have the prime global currency - yet. They've been keeping the Yuan artificially undervalued for years.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn;t suprise me.

    At my other halfs graduation at a leading UK Uni several years ago, neary all the science students were Chinese.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      At a graduation ceremony two years ago over 75% of the IT and Science based subjects were Chinese. In the arts and humanities however the Anglo-Saxons were very well represented.

      I wonder what this says about our future. I for one have been learning Mandarin for a year now.

      再见英国人! (goodbye british!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Hardly, when most 中华 are learning to speak English, just so they can take over the world. Most Chinese don't speak 普通话 themselves.

        What it says for the future is that China is going to get very good at copying the West (and Japan) until it realises it can't do that forever. All of the R&D is going to be done in the West, or by Western inspired companies (in Taiwan, Singapore). The West is going to get very good about bleating on about its history and making things look pretty, while Africa gets screwed having to build everything cheaply.

        Mainland China still doesn't get "innovation". 5,000 years of being told what to think and learning by rote, plus another 60 years of being told not to think, has left them very badly placed to develop much themselves.

        1. mhenriday

          «[M]ost 中华 are learning to speak English» ?

          Can't help wondering what «Anonymous Coward» thinks the above means - and where he/she has obtained information about the percentage of Chinese who speak 普通话. As to innovation on the part of a people subject to «5,000 years of being told what to think», I can only wonder what Anonymous Coward uses as a hygienic product after defecation, or if he/she has any acquaintance with firearms or the magnetic compass. 匿名懦夫 is one thing, 无知 is quite another....


    2. Mahou Saru

      It is going to get worse...

      With the emphasis on STEM subjects and the kicking of ASS, we are training students to be poached by other countries. Doesn't matter if we have a glut load of science/engineering graduates if we don't actually have any jobs here. We lost our manufacturing industry years ago and are a service industry, stupid government should fix the real problems rather then creating more!

  3. krafty

    Super Computer...

    I bet it still couldn't run Vista.

    1. Robot

      Yes it can run Vista...

      though it will eat up 82% of the CPU power. That still leaves plenty of CPU muscle for Office 2010. So don't diss Vista unless you get your facts straight, buddy.

  4. F.A.Hayek

    Socialism == social sm

    Western socialism will destroy us. The Chinese got rid of the idiotic socialist ideology...

    1. C-N

      You're joking right?

      Really? Haven't been to Chiner much have you?

  5. Lars Silver badge


    I suppose Linux could have been mentioned, but then again, I suppose it is a default to day.

  6. RegReaderrr


    It is about time to move past the obsolete x86 architecture. Nvidia is making ARM based CPUs too, soon we'll be able to use better processors not only in our phones, but also in desktops and high performance gear. Good for Nvidia! Booo for the lobbyist driven purchases of the US research labs. Who would have thought that the mighty West would become more tainted and bureaucratic than communist China... the Western branch of the Chinese retail industry...

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Socialis kills, socialism == social sm

    Western socialism will destory the world, well at least our western world.

    The Chinese threw away their erroneous ways some years ago...

  8. asdf

    The most important question of any super computer.

    But can it run Crysis in super HD?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: most important question.

      Of course it can, they're just waiting for the 7,168-way SLi driver to come out......

  9. Eduard Coli

    China's new national anthem

    China's new national anthem should be "The Beast is Red"

    It must be great having nukes, having a navy again, having 8% growth and yet being considered "a developing nation" by the UN. Free money is good I suppose.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Globalizaion is destroying the developed

    world. It's as simple as that. When you send all the manufacturing jobs out of the countries where the products are consumed, guess where all that money goes.

    The Chinese are (have) surpassing us in science and technology, so where do you suppose all those jobs will go?

    Thing is, I was telling people this was happening 15 or 20 years ago and I am so average of intellect that it seems to me that anyone who was interested in world events and/or paying attention should have noticed. That makes me think that the banking meltdown was highly predictable and basically just another way for those in power (mega corps) to suck more, taxes, out of the developed and nearly sucked dry economies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The banking crisis

      was forecast many years ago, as the gov of the bank of England said in a speech recently:

      "The real failure was a lapse into hubris – we came to believe that crises created by massive maturity transformation were problems that no longer applied to modern banking, that they belonged to an era in which people wore whiskers and top hats. There was an inability to see through the veil of modern finance to the fact that the balance sheets of too many banks were an accident waiting to happen, with levels of leverage on a scale that could not resist even the slightest tremor to confidence about the uncertain value of bank assets"

      As for supercomputers: I'm convinced the only reason for "it" being built is to win the lottery !

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It goes into...

      The coffers of Apple, HP, ARM, MSFT who are making a killing through improved margins? The pockets of consumers who now have access to affordable electronics

      If China does surpass us in science, technology and innovation, then that's where the jobs DESERVE to go. Simple as that.

      We go all in with globalization because we believe we can compete. And that the world is a better place when everyone can compete. The top companies coming out of China? Bring it on.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It is an inevitable result of a free market system, you purchase the cheapest product which seem to offer the best value, a nation with a high population and a low cost of living can produce things cheaper than a nation with a small population and a high cost of living.

      Even if western companies hadn't moved their operations to nations where costs were lower, these nations would have developed stronger home grown industries and still over whelmed westerns companies. So in fact refusal to globalise their work force could in the mid to long term result not only in the loss of manufacturing base but gutting the companies entirely.

      Also why do 300,000,000 people in America and 800,000,000 people in Europe deserve to have more work and wealth then 1,300,000,000 people in China and 1,100,000,000 people in India?

      Live with it, these nations have far more economic potential (as only a small amount of those populations are engaged in wealth generating work), and once they really do equal us and equal us across their whole population what hope do a poultry 1,200,000,000 terified Westerners who've forgotten how to be creative againt 2,400,000,000 people with drive and desire to go forward? Also what right do we have? There's no divine right for Europeans (and lets face it most of North America is European anyway) to be the leaders of the world, and lets face it once we lose the technological advantage there's not much we can do.

      Oh yeah, on the other hand instead of free trade and globilisation the West could have decided to put massive tarrifs on imports from these powerful nations in a hope that we could starve them into submission (like we do with Africa and parts of South America), however that wouldn't last forever. The best that could have been hoped for in that case was wild scale civil war and genocide greatly reducing the populations of both large nations and having them divide into independent waring states.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I didn't say anything about divine right

        and I agree that we don't have any divine right.

        I do find it hard to believe that in the long term moving jobs out of economies that have a job deficit can make economic sense. I'm certain it doesn't to a country's government. One problem is that every country has different environmental standards. Those in developed economies usually having higher, more expensive to meet, standards. Another is that many countries have extremely low or no minimum wage. If a company wants to manufacture in a developing economy that is perfectly OK, but the countries to which these products are exported should be taxing those products so that the cost reflects that country's standards, environmental and salary.

        So, let's compete on expertise and ability. The Chinese have 1.4 billion people to sell stuff to at their cost and as you point out that's more than Europe and North America combined.

        I know this will increase the cost of products, but maybe we'll learn to be a little less wasteful, maybe those Chinese rare earth deposits that are dwindling will last longer.

  11. Cyfaill

    The US had better get with it- fast

    As long as windows is taught in the schools they are not teaching computing science... they are teaching Windows.

    Does anyone get it?

    The US is 27th in computing science.

    We are being dumb-ed down and that is very sad.

    In 1970 the US was #1 then within ten years MS got into the schools and the Unix wars began... Linux finally rose for the supercomputers, Linux is the future (Linpack anybody) get over it and get on with it.

    Congratulations to the Chinese... for a while they deserve laurels.

    Wake up America... and UK wake up or get left behind, the world waits for for no nation to sit... and those who squander the young to mac-education deserve to slip into the dustbin of failure.

    This is not just about hardware superiority... it is what it runs with as well.

    I know that the US is tops in Linux (at lest in some circles, mostly whats left of science, and the national Labs) but dammit, if the schools don't get a clue and hence the culture... its over.

    1. Lars Silver badge


      Yes, you are right, with Windows you are just a user. I once told a friend of mine that I was a programmer. Her reply was, I am a programmer too.

      Asking her about the programming languages she knows and are using, her reply was "Exel".

      1. Yag

        Could be worse...

        She may have answered Java, C# or Flash.

  12. Mark Hahn


    you pay for whatever rank on top500 you want. and it has almost nothing to do with the performance of real codes. but you're right: the interconnect does sound interesting, since it's the only novel part. it's a shame there's so little info available about it.

  13. nlcatter

    no big deal

    we buy millions of flip flops and shoes, they buy 200,000 US made chips

    and run one benchmark.


  14. Ian Bush

    And so the tyranny of the matrix multiply continues

    So yet again machines are being judged by how well they can run matrix multiplies (hidden as a linear equation solve), an algorithm that is

    1) All but ideally suited to achieve macho flops to be quoted by hardware vendors, whatever the architecture

    2) All but ideal for scaling to many compute cores

    3) All but totally divorced from how the vast majority of real apps works

    And now it's on a machine that the vast, vast majority of the small number of HPC coders can't program, at least in the scientific arena.

    Given this I fully expect performance for the Linpack benchmark to continue being crucial to many procurement exercises.

  15. mhenriday
    Thumb Up

    China takes HPC lead

    To my mind, competition in this particular area benefits us all - so long as the computers are not used to devine ever more effective weapons to be used in criminal wars of aggression abroad. These last thirty years, the Chinese have studiously avoided participating in such projects - would that others had done likewise !...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Technically not true, however Chinese tend to be smarter and either work via proxies (In Africa) or only deal with things on their borders (Burma/Tibet). Why get personally involved in a situation when you can profit from it? A bit like the CIA training militants in Afghanistan and overthrowing a legally elected ruler in Iran all those years ago.

      Though I can't see China ever caring who runs an African nation as long as they kept sending the materials they need.

      China's Africa project is far more a "We'll set up businesses, employee people, and build infestructure, you sort out your own governance problems however you like."

      Unlike Western "We'll give you aid and charity, don't dare send manufactured goods to us becouse we'll hit you with massive tarifs. Also form nice democratic governments, and maybe one day we'll let you run a factory! Cheers."

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "Unlike Western "Also form nice democratic governments, and maybe one day we'll let you run a factory! Cheers.""

        Know many western-supported democtratic governments in Africa?

  16. E 2

    Fanless NV GPGPU?

    What that?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    China a 'developing country' lolllz!

    Gimme a break. They're developed all right, they're the most powerful nation on earth economically. For fkuc sakes, if the states could produce something as cheap as them they'd have their frickin 'FAIR' trade. LLOLLLZZZ!

    My wife is Chinese, from mainland, and hell, everytime we go there I am astounded by the scales of thing. They don't build one condo building, they build a rack of 8 x 3 of them 30 floors high. Its bloody ridiculous. They invested 70 billions US in road, hospitals, schools, basic healthcare insurrance over the last five years and trust me, there's a reason why this ain't on CNN: they'd look pretty fkucig stupid in comparison. The thing is, they're cost, consequently, are going up and hence as time goes by, and people get more services, their cost of production will increase and one day they'll be on the same level as us. It'll scale out in the end.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You have hit the nail squarely on the head

      and in the mean time we, Europe and North America, are paying for their infrastructure when we can no longer afford our own.

      The Chinese government has stated it no longer wants to export raw materials. It wants too export only manufactured goods. And now their finding reasons not export rare earths like their supplies are dwindling, which may be true or not.

      I'd feel better about all that money pouring into China if I thought it was helping the majority and not just one or two percent of the population. I'd like to know more about this.

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