China planning new supercomputer

China is planning a supercomputer 1,000 times more powerful than its ground-breaking Tianhe-1A as it faces rising demand for next-generation computing.

Meng Xiangfei, head of the applications department of the National Supercomputer Centre, said on Friday that the centre will release a prototype in 2017 or 2018 of an “exascale” computer — one capable of at least a billion calculations per second, Xinhua reported.

Exascale computing is considered the next frontier in the development of supercomputers.

Tianhe-1A was recognised as the world’s fastest computing system in 2010. Though it has since been superseded by Tianhe-2, Tianhe-1A was being more widely used. Computer scientists are finding it challenging to run contemporary applications at their optimum on faster supercomputers.

With its uses including oil exploration data management, animation and video effects, biomedical data processing and high-end equipment manufacturing, Tianhe-1A’s capacity is being stretched, said Meng.

It is carrying out more than 1,400 computing tasks and serving about 1,000 users per day.

The exascale computer will be wholly independently developed by the National Supercomputer Center, according to Meng.

About a seventh of Tianhe-1A’s CPU chips are Chinese.

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