Print 62 comment(s) - last by rcreyes.. on Nov 3 at 8:34 PM

China now is home to the world's most powerful supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A. It just kicked America's Jaguar supercomputer out of first place.  (Source: NVIDIA)

The supercomputer uses 7,168 NVIDIA Tesla M2050 GPUs.  (Source: NVIDIA)
System has 2.507 petaflops of computer power, draws 4 MW

NVIDIA has plenty to worry about in the consumer segment as it find itself yet again a generation behind AMD's latest graphics cards.  However, the company may simply be quietly divesting itself of its consumer market share by instead focusing on commercial GPU computing sales.

The graphics processor maker revealed today at HPC 2010 China an incredible new supercomputer, built using NVIDIA's GPUs which support CUDA, a C-driven technology that allows for the implementation of parallel computing code on the GPU.  The new supercomputer is named Tianhe-1a.  It is located at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in Tianjin, China and is fully operational.

With a total computing power of 2.507 petaflops, as determined by the LINPACK benchmark which solves a dense system of linear equations, China's new supercomputer is the most powerful one in the world.

And NVIDIA's real bragging rights come when the power consumption is discussed.  By using GPUs instead of purely CPUs to fuel its calculations, the installation's power footprint is cut from an estimated 12 MW to 4.04 MW, saving enough electricity to power 5,000 homes a year.

Guangming Liu, chief of National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin comments, "The performance and efficiency of Tianhe-1A was simply not possible without GPUs.  The scientific research that is now possible with a system of this scale is almost without limits; we could not be more pleased with the results."

The supercomputer is composed of 7,168 NVIDIA Tesla M2050 GPUs and 14,336 CPUs.  If it were only using CPUs it would also require twice the floor space, as it would require 50,000 CPUs to match the combined performance of the GPUs+CPUs.

China is offering open access to computing time on the supercomputer, but it's unclear whether Chinese researchers will be given preference over foreign ones.  

With the addition of the new supercomputer, China now has two of the three most powerful supercomputers in the world.  The third most powerful one -- previously in second place -- was the Nebulae supercomputer located in Shenzhen, which also uses NVIDIA's Tesla GPUs.  It has a peak capacity of 1.271 petaflops in LINPACK.

Tianhe-1a kicks an American computer out of the top spot.   The Jaguar supercomputer built by Cray at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee is now only the world's
second most powerful computer.  That machine, powered by its thousands of Opteron cores, posted 1.75 petaflop LINPACK performance.

The listed computing marks (in petaflops) were determined in LINPACK, which is recognized as a fair means of determining total computing power of a supercomputer.  This mark is different, though from the 
theoretical computing peak.  For example Nebulae has a higher theoretical computing mark that Jaguar, but in testing Jaguar comes out on top.

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RE: hmm...
By GTaudiophile on 10/28/2010 11:11:31 AM , Rating: 2
That you know of...

You don't think someone like the NSA or DARPA have something you don't know of?

But yeah, I think it's about time to formally declare the start of a New Colder War against China. And this time we won't be able to "win" it by spending since we are already broke.

RE: hmm...
By corduroygt on 10/28/2010 12:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
It'd be pretty hard to conceal a supercomputer, not impossible, but pretty hard.

RE: hmm...
By bruce24 on 10/28/2010 12:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
It'd be pretty hard to conceal a supercomputer, not impossible, but pretty hard.

Not at all, while the manufactures and silicon companies making the top systems want the press, if the buyer doesn't it wont make and list and you will know very little if anything about the system.

RE: hmm...
By surt on 10/28/2010 1:39:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not hard at all. You build it underground like a secret military base, you vent the heat into the ground, you buy the components through shell companies, and you power it with its own nuclear reactor.

RE: hmm...
By Gio6518 on 10/28/2010 1:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
you vent the heat into the ground,and you power it with its own nuclear reactor.

with the heat nVidia GPU's put out, it will pretty much create its own form of geothermal energy....

RE: hmm...
By ARoyalF on 10/28/2010 9:53:54 PM , Rating: 4
Why those sneaky people in Iceland!!!

RE: hmm...
By Assimilator87 on 10/28/2010 2:09:45 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure they could reroute the heat from the GPUs to run steam turbines. It's a self powering monstrosity O_O

RE: hmm...
By Mutz1243 on 10/28/10, Rating: -1
RE: hmm...
By ARoyalF on 10/28/2010 9:57:35 PM , Rating: 5
Aww come on, this is Nvidia were talking about.


RE: hmm...
By B3an on 10/29/10, Rating: 0
RE: hmm...
By ARoyalF on 10/29/2010 9:23:16 PM , Rating: 3
It was a joke. Although my GTX285 does double as a room heater.....

RE: hmm...
By Samus on 10/29/2010 2:56:34 AM , Rating: 2
It'd be pretty hard to conceal a supercomputer, not impossible, but pretty hard.

Pfft. I have a super computer out in my garage. Prove me wrong... ;)

RE: hmm...
By ZmaxDP on 10/29/2010 3:04:01 PM , Rating: 5
I have one at my desk! I just put a cape on it, and it looks like a supercomputer to me...

RE: hmm...
By FITCamaro on 10/28/2010 12:12:05 PM , Rating: 4
But we'll just borrow money from the Chinese to fight them.

RE: hmm...
By ThisSpaceForRent on 10/28/2010 2:28:19 PM , Rating: 5
Nonsense! We'll just weaponize our worthless currency and throw it at them. Instead of bombs we'll drop pallets of worthless money on them. Our fortifications will be built from more worthless money, as will our soldiers body armor (it's cheaper to use money than actual metals/composites). Once we've flooded their country with enough money, we light it on fire and burn them out!

RE: hmm...
By nerdye on 10/31/2010 6:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
Dude ThisSpaceForRent,
reading your comment literally has tears rolling down my face I've been laughing so hard. That's the funniest thing I've heard all week man, keep it coming!


RE: hmm...
By Adonlude on 10/28/2010 12:17:12 PM , Rating: 5
Considering the a single GPU heats up my room when I game I think using this super computer could start a really really hot war.

RE: hmm...
By Shig on 10/28/2010 12:46:27 PM , Rating: 3
Sequoia - DARPA funded 20 Petaflop super computer scheduled to come online in 2012 in the US. Built to simulate nuclear weapons and things assosiated with their safe storage.

Blue Waters - 10 Petaflop super computer housed at the University of Illinois Champaign, scheduled to go online ~2011-2012. Built for open science.

Oak Ridge is also planning a 10 Petaflop super to be the successor to Jaguar.

RE: hmm...
By Master Kenobi on 10/28/2010 4:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
*waves hand* The NSA has no super computers, it was a lie.

RE: hmm...
By Fritzr on 10/28/2010 4:58:43 PM , Rating: 3
Well of course they have no supercomputers ... after all there is No Such Agency :P

RE: hmm...
By RMSe17 on 10/29/2010 8:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure that Roadrunner is their top computer for classified applications. While Jaguar was the top US supercomputer, Jaguar was open to scientists and was not designed for classified work. Roadrunner though was designed for the military.

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