World’s Fastest Supercomputer: China Surpasses US With Homegrown Chips

In 2001, China had no presence on the list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world. Today, the world’s most populous country has the most supercomputers on the list, including the world’s fastest — and for the first time ever it no longer relies on chips made by U.S. companies.

The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer based at the state-funded Chinese Supercomputing Center in the city of Wuxi, Jiangsu province, a two-hour drive from Shanghai. China already held the top spot on the list of fastest supercomputers with the Tianhe-2, but that featured processors built by Intel, a U.S. company.

However, a chip built by the Shanghai High Performance IC Design Center called SW26010 is capable of achieving 125.4 petaflops (Pflop/s). That means it can carry out more than 125 quintillion calculations per second. The SW26010 is comprised of more than 10 million processing cores, and to put its performance in context, Tianhe-2 topped the list in 2015 with a performance of 33.86 Pflops/s.

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