China appears to have once again taken the lead from the United States in the burgeoning supercomputing wars, developing a supercomputer that is twice as fast as anything America has to offer.
The new Tianhe-2 supercomputer, nicknamed the Milkyway-2, was unveiled by China's National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) during a conference held in late May. University of Tennessee professor Jack Dongarra confirmed this week that the Milkyway-2 operates as fast as 30.7 petaflops -- quadrillions of calculations -- per second.
The new Chinese supercomputer will provide an open, high-performance computing service for southwest China when it moves to the Chinese National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou by the end of this year. NUDT has listed several possible uses for the Milkway-2, including simulations for testing airplanes, processing "big data," and aiding in government security.
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The Milkyway-2 will have to be officially tested, but its incredible speed will likely place it atop the biannual Top 500 supercomputer list, which is expected to be unveiled during the International Supercomputing Conference next weekend. It would mark the first time since 2010 that China topped the list -- then with the Tianhe-1.