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China Supercomputing Hardware

China Builds 1-Petaflop Homegrown Supercomputer 185

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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  • by Archibald Buttle ( 536586 ) <steve_sims7@yahCHEETAHoo.co.uk minus cat> on Monday October 31, 2011 @12:27PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2011 @12:31PM (#37896314)

    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 bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @01:24PM (#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.


  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @01:50PM (#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.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.