Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hacking the Milky Way: China's Tianhe-2 Can Run 100,000 Times as Many Calculations per Second as there are Stars in Our Galaxy

China's newest supercomputer, Tianhe-2, translates aptly to MilkyWay-2. There are an estimated 300 billion stars in our galaxy. Tianhe-2 can run 100,000 times as many calculations per second as there are stars in the galaxy. Tianhe-2 is now the fastest computer on Earth, doubling the speed of its American rival, Titan—and it has made its debut two years ahead of schedule using six times as many cores (3.1 million) and twice the power (17.8 MW) as Titan to achieve double the speed (33.86 petaflop/s).

China is fast emerging as the planet's leading supercomputing power. The country boasts 66 machines on the Top500, over twice Japan's 30 and a total second only to the US, which boasts 252 supercomputers, or 50% of the Top500 list. American companies IBM, Cray, Nvidia, and Intel still provide the hardware and know-how behind most of the world's fastest machines.