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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.

Note: 
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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Brilliant...
By Landiepete on 10/29/2010 3:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
And our universities and research institutions will gladly make use of all that Chinese openness in the use of their new behemoth.
This will give the Chinese access to all our experiments and research....equally free !




RE: Brilliant...
By JediJeb on 10/29/2010 11:18:38 AM , Rating: 2
It is interesting that up until the Clinton administration it was illegal to export super computer tech to China, but after those eight years they were almost caught up to us and now they have passed us. I guess once we mismanaged our finances enough we were willing to do anything to bring in money, has been that way since Bush Sr started having talks with China to grant them Most Favored Nation trade status.

Congrats to the Chinese for their ingenuity, but I still don't feel comfortable with how easily we let go of some of our most guarded secrets.


RE: Brilliant...
By bobny1 on 11/1/2010 7:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
Created?. The chinese never create anything. They copy stollen technology. Cheap ease way of getting a crown. Pathetyic and scary!


RE: Brilliant...
By DaSpikester on 11/2/2010 10:57:56 AM , Rating: 2
Now, now... the rules of the game are that it's OK to play up nationalistic fervor if you have something to crow about. But not if you are a crippled former empire begging favors. Then it looks pathetic, y'know, like the French beating up on Tahitians to prove to themselves France is still a world-wide empire.

Jen-Hsun Huang is Chinese, born in Taipei. The US is lucky to have him, along with all the other immigrants upon which the tech industry depends. The last Intel processor designed by Americans was the 80386, way back in the late 80's. The 486 was already over 65% foreigners, mainly Chinese, Indians, Pakis, Koreans, Israelis and a Russian or two. The 586, AKA "Pentium" was over 90% foreigners. Nobody pretends that Americans are designing chips any more these days. For chip design, which is what computer design is these days, the US depends on foreigners, not the other way around.

They get built overseas too. NVIDIA builds its chips in China (Taiwan), depending on Chinese process masters to get the yields they need on the world's largest and most complex silicon devices. The internals of NVIDIA's parallel libraries are all done by foreigners too, mostly NVIDIA's pet Russian math gods.

This Chinese supercomputer got built with Chinese money using chips founded by a Chinese entrepreneur built in Chinese factories by Chinese process masters, and it will be programmed mostly by Chinese and Russian programmers. US guys wrote the press release quoting the Indian manager, Sumit Gupta. If anybody needs to steal technology it's the US that needs to steal foreign technology to keep up.


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