Scientists at the National Supercomputing Center of Tianjin in China have unveiled their prototype of a next-generation exascale supercomputer. The centre says the Tianhe-3 (天河3号) can perform at one exaFLOPS, or a billion billion calculations per second — the threshold for coveted “exascale” status.
The Tianhe-3 prototype has now completed acceptance testing for China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
Tianhe-3 is powered by three domestically produced high-performance computing and communication chips, and will be 200 times faster and have 100 times more storage capacity than the Tianhe-1 — China’s first petascale supercomputer which reached 2.5 petaFLOPS and was the world’s fastest computer from October 2010 to June 2011.
Currently, the world’s fastest supercomputer is Summit, unveiled just last month by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Summit’s computing power reaches 200 petaflops or 200 million billion calculations per second, 60 percent faster than the previous record-holder, China’s Sunway TaihuLight.
Summit’s top spot would be threatened by an exascale challenger. The Tianhe-3 supercomputer is expected to become operational in 2020.
The National Supercomputing Tianjin Center is located at the National Defense Science and Technology University in Tianjin. It says it will use Tianhe-3 to build a high-performance computing service platform integrating supercomputing with cloud computing, big data and AI and envisions applications in research and big data analysis and processing.
The US and Japan are also in the exascale supercomputer race. Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, is gearing up to produce an exascale machine in 2021; while Japanese supercomputer maker ExaScaler and Keio University have teamed up on an original supercomputer design with exascale capability.
Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen