The US cannot stop China: Tianhe-2 is already complete.

A few months ago we told you that the United States had prohibited Intel, NVIDIA and AMD from selling high-end chips to the Chinese government with the intention of preventing them from mounting their Tianhe-2 super computer to develop weapons of mass destruction. However, China not only already has Tianhe-2 ready, but it has also risen squarely to the top of the list of the world’s 500 most powerful super computers.

Originally, the Chinese government planned to build Tianhe-2 with 100,000 Xeon processors and Xeon Phi co-processors, seeking to break the 100 PFLOPS throughput barrier. The initial deployment included 4,096 Galaxy FT-1500 processors (manufactured by the Chinese brand SPARC) and 16,000 processor nodes with two 12-core Xeon E2692 processors and three Xeon Phi 31S1P co-processors, for a total of 3.12 million processing cores. .

The US cannot stop China: Tianhe-2 is already complete

The Chinese government gets away with it… halfway

The final phase of the construction of Tianhe-2 was scheduled to have 48,000 nodes of those that we have listed before, with a total of 9.93 million physical cores. However, these plans were cut short by the US ban on Intel, AMD and NVIDIA from selling their chips to the Chinese government, although they eventually found a way to acquire these processors and co-processors from Intel through third-party companies, specifically Inspur and NUDT.

However, this obstacle that the US imposed on China has indeed affected the total computing capacity, and Tianhe-2 has not been able to be built to its full potential. However, at the International Supercomputing Conference that took place in Germany a few days ago, the list of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world came to light, and for the fifth consecutive time the Chinese government took the cat into the water because its new Tianhe-2 super computer is in first place with a computing capacity of 33.9 PFLOPS, although far from the goal of beating the figure of 100 PFLOPS that they had in the first instance.

The US cannot stop China: Tianhe-2 is already complete

Why does China want so much computing power?

Although it is not known exactly what the tasks that Tianhe-2 will perform are, and whether or not “Uncle Sam” was right about China using it to develop weapons of mass destruction, there is a pretty good article published by The Platform that explains what the Chinese government can do with Tianhe-2.

It is worth noting that the group of Chinese engineers in charge of working with Tianhe-2 have managed to obtain a speed 45 times greater with a single node of this super computer compared to the previous version, and without losing any calculation precision thanks to the parallelization of the genome analysis algorithm (in theory Tianhe-2 is for that).

The US cannot stop China: Tianhe-2 is already complete

To tell the truth, it does not add up that they are using the Tianhe-2 super computer to investigate the human genome and that it is associated with an institution called the “National University of Defense Technology” (something like the National University of Defense Technology).

The next super computers

In any case, super computing technology is expected to evolve to the next level in the next two years. Without going any further, the US is developing the new Summit, Sierra and Aurora supercomputers, while Japan is already creating a supercomputer that in theory will exceed 150 PFLOPS of computing power.

The US cannot stop China: Tianhe-2 is already complete

For their part, the record could be broken by Australia and South Africa with their Exascale ASKAP project that will serve to service the SKA (Square Kilometer Array) radio telescope, although this is not expected to be ready until at least 2020.