The Sunway TaihuLight was named the fastest supercomputer in the world this Monday, according to the latest TOP500 ranking. This is the first time that a Chinese supercomputer has topped the list without the help of parts designed in other countries.
China has managed to top the biannually reviewed TOP500 list for the past three years running with its Tianhe-2, which was built using American-made Intel processors.
The TaihuLight has a processing capacity of 125,436 petaflops per second, vastly outperforming the Tianhe-2, which could only reach 54,902.
According to The Verge, there were no Chinese computers in the TOP500 list in 2001, but now there 167, while the US has 164. Of the top ten supercomputers on the latest list, two are from China and four are from the US. The rest are from Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
The entirely China-made TaihuLight comes after the US government barred Intel from selling its high-performance computing chips to China in April 2015, on the grounds that China was using their supercomputers on “nuclear explosive activities”.
The machine has ended “any remaining speculation that China would have to rely on Western technology to compete effectively in the upper echelons of supercomputing,” commented TOP500.
Creators of the TaihuLight said the computer will be used in the fields of manufacturing, life science and earth system modeling. It’s probably also pretty good at Go.
By Victor Fung