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China Supercomputing Hardware

China Builds 1-Petaflop Homegrown Supercomputer 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the home-is-where-the-chart-is dept.
MrSeb writes "Drawing yet another battle line between the incumbent oligarchs of the West and the developing hordes of the East, China has unveiled a new supercomputer that uses entirely-homegrown processors — 8,704 of them, to be exact. The computer is called Sunway BlueLight MPP and it has a peak performance of just over 1 petaflop — or around the 15th fastest supercomputer in the world. Sunway uses the ShenWei SW-3 1600, a 16-core, 64-bit MIPS-compatible (RISC) CPU. The process used to make the chips is not known, but it is likely 65 or 45nm, a few generations behind Intel's latest and greatest. Each of the 139,264 cores runs at 1.1GHz, the entire system has 150TB of memory and 2PB of storage, and of course it's water-cooled. The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China — as in, the country itself — probably reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha CPU in 2001 and has been developing ever since. Sunway is significant for two reasons: a) It's very low-power; it consumes just one megawatt, about half of its contemporaries and one seventh of the US's Jaguar — and b) This is China's first significant supercomputer to be built without Intel or AMD processors."
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China Builds 1-Petaflop Homegrown Supercomputer

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  • "Homegrown"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:13AM (#37896020) Journal
    From the article:

    The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China — as in, the country itself — has been steadily developing since 2001. It is believed that the Loongson family of processors, including the ShenWei SW-3 found in Sunway, were created by reverse engineering a DEC Alpha CPU.

    So you're saying that the entirely homegrown processor was started by reverse engineering a DEC Alpha CPU? Sounds very telling of China's position on innovation (copy/paste). I'm very excited someone is putting pressure on the nations of the world to compute like a boss but it does rub me the wrong way when the title of the article is titled with a "West vs. East" prefix. I'm not trying to get all "Rah Rah USA" here but isn't all the fabrication and chip design built on top of so much history from all around the world? Calling anything entirely "homegrown" in supercomputers or chip design seems kind of unbelievable to me. Unless China's got something radically original [slashdot.org], I'm guessing they owe at least a little credit to so much work done in the USA, Europe the rest of Asia. I mean, it is RISC, right?

    This "East vs. West" and "homegrown" stuff is kind of misleading and I find this amusing:

    Lest you think this is merely serendipitous happenstance, think again: China has repeatedly stated that it wishes to sever its reliance on American/Western high-tech — and now it can add supercomputers to its rapidly growing list of (mostly reverse-engineered) successes.

    And when that is deemed "too slow" where do you turn to move forward? Do you draw on your internal innovation to come up with a new design and process to defeat your opponents or do you merely go back to re-engineering your opponent's latest chip?

    Very soon, perhaps by 2020, the only edge that the US will have is in the realm of research and innovation ...

    Reverse engineering is innovation? Okay so when China outstrips the United States and defeats the evil Western corporations, who then will they turn to for reverse engineering targets? Also, what is driving this chip to innovate? Who are the competitors for Loongson/Godson? Nobody inside their borders, the government is funding that! That's the problem when your government pays for and decides what you're going to use. Once that's in place, you can sit back and soak up that fat federal funding. Where's the competition going to come from?

    ... and today's announcement of the Sunway supercomputer suggests that the US might not have as much of an advantage as it would hope.

    Hey man, I love FUD if it kicks our politicians into dumping more of that Military Industrial Complex cash into Science and Research but ... feel free to call me skeptical of your last conclusion. The fact is that by 2020 they're still going to be using this same reverse engineered chip design -- unless they're on their way to reverse engineering another.

    • A few rounds of subtly defective technologies, and perhaps China might learn not to copy off the US.

      • Everyone bases their stuff on something. Even in the West. Note that it said it got start from that. Everything we do in our every day lives in based on something too, and so are all US products.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The rise of the West in the last few hundred years can been attributed to the Renaissance

          The Renaissance happened partly/mostly due to a bunch of Italians rediscovering ancient Greek and Roman knowledge. Ergo, the West as we know it got to where it is by copying the Greeks/Romans

          But of course, it's also around the time of Renaissance that the modern notion copyright and intellectual property surfaced.

          Thus, we have the doublethink that makes it OK for the West to copy ancient Greeks/Romans, but not OK for ot

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            anyhow. the west can just start copying and reverse engineering china if it goes to that.

            in either case, it's better tech for everyone.

            also - one important points in kicking off the renaissance was this: stealing shit from CHINA.

            gunpowder? check.
            advanced principles on war and administration? check.

            • The world is working Quantum Computer solutions, and china comes up this?! I just thought that china could do better.
          • by khallow (566160)

            Thus, we have the doublethink that makes it OK for the West to copy ancient Greeks/Romans, but not OK for other cultures to copy the West.

            All this ancient knowledge has been in the public domain for at least a thousand years by the time of the Renaissance. Even now, copyright doesn't extend to a thousand years. So there's no "doublethink" going on here. It is worth noting that virtually everyone who now embraces IP has gone through a phase when they didn't. Most took advantage of someone who did respect IP. There's some hypocrisy there.

        • GP is exactly right about how ridiculous it is though, when your proof that the West is going to get outcompeted is that China has a chip thats some 5-6 years old in fabrication tech.
          Its sort of like saying "Africa is starting to build out its basic infrastructure; surely this means in a few years they will be surpassing the west in power generation". Yea, except that doesnt follow at ALL.

          I mean, seriously, youre comparing a 60nm chip to Intel and AMD's stuff? Get real. What were costs of production? Wh

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          And the patents on that processor are expired anyway. The work is rightly in the public domain. Why not use it?
      • by physburn (1095481)
        Er, because Concorde was made by the British and French, the word Concorde being french for treaty. As a brit I not that proud of Concorde (better than a DeLoren though), seeing as it was never profitable and its one crash ground the whole fleet for good. But a plane far in advance of it time it was.

        ---

        Aerospace Industry Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

        • by sethstorm (512897)

          The point is to give them something that is designed to fail, but only when all the pieces are assembled and implemented - much like how the Soviets had copied the Concorde, but failed.

    • by h00manist (800926)

      It likely won't be long before there are plans for a DIY supercomputer that a group of engineers can build in their homes.

    • by adamchou (993073)
      But with that mentality, many things aren't truly homegrown. Granted, reverse engineering a CPU is much more complex than reversing many other things, but lots of stuff we have today was based on copying others. Even the late great Steve Jobs at one time proudly professed "Good artists copy, great artists steal"
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      I was a little bit surprised that China had to reverse engineer a chip to make this computer, however it makes sense since they do not have the technology infrastructure set up to make their own. However, outside of ethics, isn't it illegal to copy a copyrighted design? I mean if China reverse engineered sandy bridge and named it sandy bridge - the chinese version, that in the USA is a copyright suite, what about on a global scale though?

      • However, outside of ethics, isn't it illegal to copy a copyrighted design?

        I haven't read China's copyright law, but at least in my home country, exclusive rights in chip designs expire after ten years, unlike other exclusive rights under copyright law. Even the chip's patents last longer than those.

      • by Goaway (82658)

        I was a little bit surprised that China had to reverse engineer a chip to make this computer,

        I was more surprised that they managed to create a MIPS architecture by reverse-engineering an Alpha chip.

    • A chinese person will reply that there was no egg, simply a reversed-engineered chicken to form another chicken :)

    • You say that when one of the main architectures we use in the west (x86) was created by one company, and reverse engineered by its main rival to compete with it...

      Oh, and the whole Compaq reverse engineering the IBM PC Bios to compete with IBM...

      I've got no issues at all with China doing the same.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        i386 wasn't reverse engineered by AMD, if that's what you meant. AMD had the complete specs, since that was required to fulfill their manufacturing contract with Intel.

    • by G3ckoG33k (647276)

      Sorry, you are ridiculous. You just underestimated a nation three times the size of USA, and an economy with a continued growth potential, despite already twenty years of explosive growth.

      What you learned about copy-cat Asians from the sixties and seventies may be valid for the Chinese today, in part. Give them a few decades of copying and they'll learn to do original research soon enough; and they already do, btw.

      Do you still think the Japanese are copy-cats? Not any longer. They perhaps were some fifty ye

      • The Chinese will only ever be innovative when they have a government that doesn't persecute free thinkers. Free thinkers tend to find fault with systems that are restrictive in nature. The Chinese Communist Party has to be one of the most restrictive governments around that brooks no descent, nor criticism. As we have seen historically and currently that China continues to throw artists and other free thinkers in prison or worse. To innovate means to think outside the box means to be a free thinker. Get my
        • by pjabardo (977600)
          You have some interesting points but things are much more complicated. What about the Soviet Union? Were they not innovative in several fields? Hell, what about Nazi Germany?

          You could argue that they were spending "innovation capital" acquired before. That could be true for Nazi Germany even though before WWI it was not much of a democracy. But Russia? It basically changed one nasty dictatorship for another.

          On the other hand, often innovation (arts and literature) sometimes thrive in dictatorships, at
          • Do you mean like how Hitler wanted the first jet fighter redesigned as a jet bomber, which it wasn't suited for, thus delaying the eventual production of the jet fighter till the end of the war, when they finally gave in to the inevitable? I'm glad the dictator listened so well to the innovators that they never were able to keep the air superiority that jet fighters would have given them. One of the things that helped us avoid having jackboots in our shoe stores today.
            • by pjabardo (977600)
              So here we are talking in general terms and you come with one instance of one guy screwing up. Hitler obviously screwed up many more times - he lost the war and it certainly was not because of jet bombers. But at the beginning of the war many people saw that everything he did worked wonderfully even though in retrospect we might see the seeds of failure.

              All this doesn't change the fact that there was a lot of innovation going on even if much was wasted by a single man. The relevant question is whether th
        • by lennier (44736)

          that brooks no descent

          I beg to dissent. The USA hasn't shipped a decent Descent [wikipedia.org] for years either.

    • Yeah, funny however that this story is written by an American. Who invented the first computer again? Where was the jet engine developer? Radar?

      Pot calling kettle, come in kettle.

    • Re:"Homegrown"? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Monday October 31, 2011 @12:22PM (#37897086) Homepage

      Calling anything entirely "homegrown" in supercomputers or chip design seems kind of unbelievable to me.

      And all cars are German because everybody has been copying Daimler and Benz (car analogy, w00t), it's a matter of degree. It's at least homegrown in the sense that it's domestically produced and they are not currently relying on foreign companies do produce it. And since a 2001 era Dec Alpha would be built on 180nm process and this is supposedly on 45 or 65nm, they've clearly redesigned it quite a lot adjusting timings, gates and all that. You can't just take a design and make it 1/4th the size. That tells me they actually know a lot about this technology themselves.

      And when that is deemed "too slow" where do you turn to move forward? Do you draw on your internal innovation to come up with a new design and process to defeat your opponents or do you merely go back to re-engineering your opponent's latest chip?

      That's not an either-or question.

      Reverse engineering is innovation? Okay so when China outstrips the United States and defeats the evil Western corporations, who then will they turn to for reverse engineering targets?

      Just because it's unsustainable in the long run, doesn't mean it makes sense now. Innovation is possible, but they're so far behind copying is faster. As long as you're ignoring IP laws, that seems logical. Hollywood ignored copyright laws, now that the balance is in their favor they enforce it with vigor.

      Also, what is driving this chip to innovate? Who are the competitors for Loongson/Godson? Nobody inside their borders, the government is funding that! That's the problem when your government pays for and decides what you're going to use. Once that's in place, you can sit back and soak up that fat federal funding. Where's the competition going to come from?

      You might as well say the Apollo program had no domestic competition, the country was founding it. China wants homegrown CPUs and supercomputers so they will run a program to get it, and it'll run for as long as they need it to run.

      The fact is that by 2020 they're still going to be using this same reverse engineered chip design -- unless they're on their way to reverse engineering another.

      You must not have been paying very good attention to what China is doing, they're absorbing high tech at a huge rate. Their high speed rail is a good example, they imported technology from Germany and Japan, then kept building on it. They now have the largest high speed rail network in the world, with their own train designs. You think that isn't their goal with CPUs? Grab what you can, build on top. It doesn't have to be #1, just good enough they don't rely on anyone else.

      • by houghi (78078)

        they imported technology from Germany and Japan, then kept building on it

        It used to be that Japan was the place that only was able to copy stuff and not make anything themselves.

    • by hackstraw (262471)

      There is no way anybody can design a modern processor from scratch without reverse engineering. Think of how many man years is in a processor. Even with the reverse engineering they were only able to obtain 45nm technology which is a few years old. If china started today, it would take them 10-20 years to make a processor 10-20 years out of date. What good is that?

      This machine is impressive nonetheless. It uses good power 1MW. Only uses off-the-shelf networking (Infiniband). Only uses 9 racks of spac

    • I was actually going to quote the same line:

      The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture [...] It is believed that the Loongson family of processors, including the ShenWei SW-3 found in Sunway, were created by reverse engineering a DEC Alpha CPU.

      Of course it had to done by reverse-engineering an Alpha, because there's no way that a mere chinaman could possibly create their own CPU. I mean just think of the implications! That'd practically be admitting that they can think!

      (Hint: Loongson/Godson is MIPS32/MIPS64, and MIPS64 != Alpha. The entire claim seems to be based on this piece of nonsense [wordpress.com], which concludes that the Loongson/Godson MIPS device is actually an Alpha because it has, hold on for it, "128-b


  • The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China â" as in, the country itself â" probably reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha CPU in 2001 and has been developing ever since.

    This should be a greater argument against handing technology to China, since they just simply copy off of everyone else.

    It's the truth, no matter how far you modbomb.

    • by bmo (77928) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:34AM (#37896372)

      >It's the truth, no matter how far you modbomb.

      You get modbombed because you don't bring anything to the discussion except "hate china" and your ideas are lame. Supply them with faulty technology like you suggested in a previous message? Dude, they can get the latest processors off the shelf. And it's not like they don't have fabs for making their own. We gave it to them, willingly.

      So if you have anything to say bad about anybody, maybe you should look at US businesses, who in their greed for short term gains, decided to hand the Chinese everything they wanted.

      I don't fault the Chinese for anything they do now. I do fault US boards and CEOs for fucking everyone here for a quick buck.

      So yeah, you get modbombed because you're not contributing.

      Have a nice day.

      --
      BMO

      • While I agree that us Businesses AND politicians (W was the best friend that China had with his tax break and .75T/year deficits) deserve a lot of blame. China's actions have over and over been illegal from POV of WTO/IMF and even the 2000 accord with USA. Even now, their requiring companies to build there, but not import is illegal. Obama SHOULD have done something by now, but .....
        • by bmo (77928) on Monday October 31, 2011 @12:24PM (#37897108)

          Nope. Not gonna blame China.

          I blame Texas Instruments and others. I blame TI for closing their Attleboro MA plant and shipping everything off, including the engineering, to China.

          Then there was AT Cross. Back when you wanted a "fancy pen" in the 70s and 80s, you bought a Cross pen. What did AT Cross do? Pick up and ship everything off to China from Lincoln RI. No, it's not high tech, but the thinking is the same.

          Those are just local examples I can think of off the top of my head.

          Not blaming China anymore. I blame US.

          --
          BMO

          • That is funny. I was looking at buying a cross pen about 6 months ago and noticed that I could not find a single one made in America. All were Chinese. So, I skipped them. Pretty damn sad.
            • by bmo (77928)

              Speidel was literally down the street from me by 3 miles in "The Jewelry District." Providence RI was known as the jewelry capital of the world at one point.

              They shipped off to China too. Want a twisty metal band for your watch? Can't get a US made one anymore.

              --
              BMO

      • by poity (465672) on Monday October 31, 2011 @12:50PM (#37897488)

        "I don't fault the Chinese for anything they do now."

        Thing is, while Americans are waking up to the misdeeds done unto them, China still gets away with "fucking everyone" to help their economy -- socialized health care is long gone, unions are merely a facade, and minimum wage is 1000 yuan a month in cities where average rent is 1500+, in their places are entirely government funded start-ups put into private hands, rising tax rebates for export companies to offset increasing foreign tariffs, and crackdowns where stories like Scott Olsen's are so myriad that society is numb to them.

        It is the same story as in the US of taking money from private citizens to fund the captains of industry and their economic war machines, only to an even greater degree for the sake of helping China catch up. The sad fact we've come to realize is that the country that can more easily oppress can also more easily tip the economic scales in their favor. Yet there are those like you who would, in their dissatisfaction with the old bullies, pave the way and make excuses for the new ones.

        • by bmo (77928)

          There is no scam without a greedy mark.

          Chew on that for a while.

          --
          BMO

    • by zill (1690130) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:41AM (#37896474)

      reverse engineered

      Licensed from MIPS.

      DEC Alpha CPU

      Loongson is MIPS-compatible.

      in 2001

      The company that makes Loongson was founded in 2002.

      Wow, almost every single word in that clause is wrong.

    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      Everybody copies everything. Could you create a decent modern microprocessor on your own starting from middle-age technology? Guess not. So, are you a copycat?
  • Why would they reverse engineer an Alpha chip in order tp make aIPS chip? If I were them, I'd one of the OpenSPARC cores.

    • by zill (1690130) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:33AM (#37896358)

      If I were them, I'd one of the OpenSPARC cores.

      You a verb there.


      From wikipedia:

      In 2007, a deal was reached by MIPS Technologies and ICT. STMicroelectronics bought a MIPS license for Loongson, and thus the processor can be promoted as MIPS-based or MIPS-compatible instead of MIPS-like.

      In June 2009, ICT licenced the MIPS32 and MIPS64 architectures directly from MIPS Technologies.

      In August 2011, Loongson Technology Corp. Ltd. licensed the MIPS32 and MIPS64 architectures from MIPS Technologies, Inc. for continued development of MIPS-based Loongson CPU cores.

      Yet another FUD article trolling for xenophobic reactions.

    • by jandrese (485)
      The article is not very well written, but I think the story is that the Chinese firm reverse engineered a DEC Alpha to start making MIPS compatible chips, and then in 2007 went ahead and just bought a license from MIPS so they could actually call themselves MIPS compatible instead of just MIPS like.

      The only problem with this is that Alpha is not MIPS. IIRC Alpha was at least partially derived from MIPS, so this isn't entirely improbable however.

      So I guess the timeline is: 2001, Chinese firm buys a
      • by Curlsman (1041022)
        Not DEC, seemingly, but COMPAQ via Tru64 on Alpha. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tru64_UNIX [wikipedia.org] "A Chinese version of Tru64 UNIX named COSIX was jointly developed by Compaq and China National Computer Software & Technology Service Corporation (CS&S)[10]. It was released in 1999."
  • by Archibald Buttle (536586) <steve_sims7@@@yahoo...co...uk> on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:27AM (#37896246)

    Why would Loongson/Godson be reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha? It implements the MIPS instruction set, not Alpha. Wouldn't it have been easier for them to reverse-engineer a MIPS chip? Doesn't the evidence seem to indicate that it's a genuinely independent implementation of MIPS?

    The only source of this speculation I have found is just the extremetech article that has been linked to. My googling is showing nothing else to back this up.

    • Doesn't the evidence seem to indicate that it's a genuinely independent implementation of MIPS?

      Because most of US already believe [wikipedia.org] that everything that China made must be an exact replica of whatever we have.

      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Totally agree. Just look at eldavojohn comment above - his argument is based on the two claims "home-grown" and "reverse engineering", which are nowhere to be found except the extremetech article itself. With the general /. populace sentiment, we DESERVE the patent system that we have because we're asking for it.
    • by peter303 (12292)
      Its whatever computer files can be copied at a given time. Perhaps DEC security was a bit loose in the late 1990s.
    • Of course what's daft about this is that there seems to be no evidence that the ShenWei SW-3 is a Loongson/Godson chip. There is nothing to be found on what the instruction set of the CPU is, and no evidence that it implements the MIPS instruction set - any googling for that only brings you back to this story.

      There is some speculation that the ShenWei's CPUs were "inspired" by the DEC Alpha. Quite what that means is anyone's guess. Again, there is very little evidence to be found on this subject, just a

      • by evilviper (135110)

        there seems to be no evidence that the ShenWei SW-3 is a Loongson/Godson chip. There is nothing to be found on what the instruction set of the CPU is, and no evidence that it implements the MIPS instruction set

        The MIPS based Loongson/Godson chip is the only reasonably advanced processor known to be developed in China, and the government has spent obscene amounts of money over the past decade+ on it.

        It's extremely unlikely domestic Chinese companies have secretly developed the capability to design some other

  • Sure it is fast, but 30 minutes after the program is done, you're hungry again...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's either MIPS 64, or Alpha architecture, it isn't both. Alpha would have been reverse Engineered, but MIPS would be more likely give that it's well documented in Hennessey and Patterson, which is probably the most commonly used text on processor architecture.

    • by cyfer2000 (548592)
      TFA is totally messed up. The ShenWei chips are NOT based on the Loongson/Godson/MIPS architecture.
  • Rumor has it, this new Chinese super computer hacked into itself.

  • oligarch of the west
      -- Clearly the proletariat masses of the United States have no say in politics nor are allowed to own stock in capitalist corporations.

    developing hordes of the east
    -- Clearly the east is nothing more than the extended family of Genghis Khan ravening the other nations

    Shame on you for posting a story like this instead of simply reporting the actual news

  • China of course has Oligarchs and Plutocrats. All major "communist" systems have them. That's because real communism can't exist on anything on the scale bigger than a hippie commune.
    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      The Jews have been practicing what is essentially a fairly pure form of ideal socialism in their Kibbutz (communal farms) and have been doing so for a VERY long time. They are successful for one very important reason. Although all material goods are shared those that don't contribute are kicked out of the Kibbutz. So if your the lazy asshole that wants to live off the work of everyone else they simply vote you out of the Kibbutz and away you go. Pure socialism is an egalitarian society and it only truly wor

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        Those Israeli Kibbutz act within a realm supported by capitalism and also billions in overt and covert aid. So funny a first world country like Israel is such a bunch of moochers.
  • How long before I can get a chinese laptop at the dollar store?

  • The fast that companies like Intel, AMD, Dell, IBM, HP, and esp. Apple, move their tech to China, the faster that these companies will disappear. Chinese gov. is simply using their greed against them. Smart on their part. Stupid on the companies, and America's as well. Hopefully, Google with Motorola will change that. What has to happen is that Motorola needs to focus on top products that get demand, while not taking the GM/Harvard finance MBA approach to businesses.
    • Pretty much

      US companies are foolishly destroying themselves by doing business in china.

  • I had an all-to-rare chance to chat with someone I know in the chip industry. Among his greatest challenges right now is how to 'characterize' performance and failures. The state of the art is so profoundly advanced that production facilities are using what are truly research technologies to deal with their production needs.

    To put it differently, imagine that mainstream medicine was being manufactured at university research labs, using the research facilities as if they were production lines. State of th

  • fro computer designs or any other technology (which seems to be most of their high tech industries).
  • Today seems a particularly bad day for Slashdot summaries. The successful Russian Progress capsule launch making the booster man-safe again, and this one are the worst yet. Since when was the DEC Alpha MIPS based?
  • So many comments bashing China for improvising designs based on Western products.

    Perhaps rather that criticising China for "stealing" our technology we should take a look at our OWN patent system.

    Y'know, the phrase about standing on the shoulders of giants... not the one about them thinking you have stinky blood and eating you- the other one.

    All todays technology is built on technology discovered by someone else. We need more companies in this country "stealing" from each other.

  • by AtomicDevice (926814) on Monday October 31, 2011 @01:01PM (#37897638)

    Why is the gut american reaction "Look at those dirty Chinese copying our technology, they're just stupid copycats"

    Why don't we instead think "Man, look how quickly they innovate on technology because they aren't locked down by stupid IP law, we should fix our IP law to help innovators (help them not fear being sued to death for improving a product and making a buck and some jobs)"

    The fact of the matter is, if we don't "steal" IP (and by steal I mean share and protect inventors and innovators in a reasonable fashion, with sensible time limits and timely filings and better restrictions on what is patentable/copywriteable), some other country will, and they'll be the ones making the cash at the end of the day.

  • by GodInHell (258915) on Monday October 31, 2011 @01:25PM (#37897978) Homepage

    Drawing yet another battle line between the incumbent oligarchs of the West and the developing hordes of the East

    Hordes of the East? Seriously?

    -GiH

  • by thesandbender (911391) on Monday October 31, 2011 @01:39PM (#37898136)
    Loongson is a licensed [wikipedia.org] MIPs implementation. Apparently early versions even made sure to clear of patent issues by not implementing a few instructions. So the accusation of being an Alpha "rip-off" is 100% wrong.
    • by WorBlux (1751716)
      This processor mentioned is not a loongson.
      • FTA (and the summary): The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture. Loongsoon is a family of chips... just like Core 2's, Bulldozer's, etc. They are MIPs based, not Alpha based.
  • Anybody can tie a bunch of processors together and connect them to a thousand hard drives. Show me a screaming fast processor that breaks the 3 GHz ceiling (I hear AMD is working on 5GHz...) and I'll be impressed.

    • by Junta (36770)

      Anybody can tie a bunch of processors together and connect them to a thousand hard drives

      You really have no idea whatsoever what is involved in these configurations. Network topologies to actually have those work *efficiently* together is not as simple as 'slap a bunch of ethernet switches together'.

      Show me a screaming fast processor that breaks the 3 GHz ceiling (I hear AMD is working on 5GHz...) and I'll be impressed.

      First off, what 3 Ghz ceiling? AMD and Intel both have processors that exceed that per-core. Second, GHz isn't everything (I thought most of the world learned that with Pentium 4's ludicrous clockspeeds yet crappy performance).

  • Once again we have an article about a supercomputer going nuts over a bunch of hardware, without mentioning the software.
    A supercomputer is made out of multiple chips the way a house is made from bricks, but a pile of chips is no more a supercomputer than
    a pile of bricks is a house.
    So what software makes the supercomputer useful?

  • I would have thought that 8,700 abacuses would take more power than that.

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