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China Overtakes US In Latest Top 500 Supercomputer List (enterprisecloudnews.com) 110

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Enterprise Cloud News: The release of the semiannual Top 500 Supercomputer List is a chance to gauge the who's who of countries that are pushing the boundaries of high-performance computing. The most recent list, released Monday, shows that China is now in a class by itself. China now claims 202 systems within the Top 500, while the United States -- once the dominant player -- tumbles to second place with 143 systems represented on the list. Only a few months ago, the U.S. had 169 systems within the Top 500 compared to China's 160. The growth of China and the decline of the United States within the Top 500 has prompted the U.S. Department of Energy to doll out $258 million in grants to several tech companies to develop exascale systems, the next great leap in HPC. These systems can handle a billion billion calculations a second, or 1 exaflop. However, even as these physical machines grow more and more powerful, a good portion of supercomputing power is moving to the cloud, where it can be accessed by more researchers and scientists, making the technology more democratic.

China Overtakes US In Latest Top 500 Supercomputer List

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Right now the big push is towards the chicken wing. Chicken Wing computing is similar to the cloud.... but it has wings, making your data more readily available and more secure with highly ruffled feathers on the network perimeter.
    Chicken wing storage and supercomputing is the future.

  • China has give or take 4.4 times pop. as USA. They have more middle class people than you have people total. That middle class is growing rapidly because there are a huge number of poor who are being raised up to middle class over time as the country prospers and more and more of the world economy moves to China, and the GDP/pop is going up very fast.

    Eventually you will be unable to keep up in any domain: computing, military, mfg, world clout, anything. Rather than drive yourselves into the dirt trying t

  • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @07:24PM (#55544205)
    They are also planning on becoming #1 in quantum computing, radio astronomy, and plans in the work to build the next huge super collider. Meanwhile, in the USA, we are planning on giving rich trust-fund babies even more money they didn't earn, cutting back on our education, and appointing people who hate science to run science-based federal departments.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @07:48PM (#55544307) Journal

      They are also planning on becoming #1 [in many fields] Meanwhile, in the USA, we are planning on giving rich trust-fund babies even more money they didn't earn

      The rich spend boat-loads of money convincing the population that trickle-down either works, or would work if we reach a sufficient level of tax breaks and deregulation. So far this bribery, I mean investment, appears to be paying off because at least half the country accepts it.

      I do fear a slippery slope: the richer the rich get the more they spend on convincing the population that their own well-being depends on fat cats staying fat, given them even more power to get more power. The ever growing inequality since around 1980 is evidence of a slippery slope, or at least a trend somehow "stuck" going up.

      The idea of "corporate personhood" is not in the Constitution, but has slowly worked its way into common law by judges placed there by the rich. Some aspects of corporate personhood do have legal value in terms of deciding how to apply existing laws to corporations, but it's been way overdone.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It would be funny to "jail" a corporation, give it community service etc.

        • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

          Or even a death penalty for companies.

          Knowingly break the rules killing hundreds?

          You're now government property to be auctioned off to new owners.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

          Nothing like that is needed. Simply fine an appreciable percentage of revenue. 10% for first offence would be a good level. Go up in increments of 10% after that.

          Won't happen, because 'lobbying' as a fig leaf for endemic corruption is completely acceptable.

          Of course, this would all come unstuck if the people started voting for people who might change all this, but that won't happen either.

          • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
            I'd say Roy Moore may be a tipping point. If he remains in the running, and it seems he's intent on it, watch the results.
    • I'm planning on marrying a supermodel. Think it will work?
      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

        I'm planning on marrying a supermodel. Think it will work?

        If you're sufficiently rich, of course.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's because, tyrants or not, the ruling class in China are composed of scientists and engineers. They are able to plan for the future with rational thought processes.

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
        Yeah. China's leadership boils down to tyranny/totalitarianism but you cannot deny they seem to actually know what they're doing. The US, on the other hand, elects a fucking babbling manchild. The UK votes to leave the EU. Both horrific self-inflicted injuries that the Chinese are laughing their asses off at.
        • um. TBH, I think both examples you mention for the US and UK are what make those two places better than China. Is it better to have a benevolent dictator or democracy? You seem to choose the benevolent dictator by your post. Democracy has always meant that a babbling man-child can be elected. Freedom means that you can impose self-inflicted injuries. The benevolent dictator is only better so long as they stay benevolent.

          China does have an interesting culture that has a very long sighted view. One example I

    • Don't forget appointing judges who have never even tried a case as a lawyer
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      I don't get it. There should be applause. Why the sudden jingoism woo woo USA #1 rhetoric we all know is bullshit? China has never bombed another country for peace. Can anyone imagine a worse world leader than America? It's about time the rogue superpower got shoved off the world stage and a peaceful country kicked their racist, redneck asses. Remember: Capitalism is incompatible with socialism but is 100% compatible with fascism. China is mostly quiet, doing stuff in their own country for the most p
      • Even Chinese scientists are scared of China's lockdowns [foreignpolicy.com], and the quote is "The senior CAS official I spoke to clearly stated that the level of international collaboration currently enjoyed at LHC experiments will not be achievable at the Chinese supercollider". This will be an issue for all these major projects being done out of China. So my issue isn't about the US and a super collider (which we gave up on, even though we built the tunnels in Texas) but that the Communist party will own any and all tech
        • How's that a bad thing? Instead of private companies hogging the benefits for themselves, all of society will benefit instead? I don't get it.
  • Unless the researchers have a steady need for the computations, moving work to the cloud makes more sense. Why build a multi-million dollar facility when you can just rent the computers for a day or two for your computation? My guess is the list looks different if the data centers built by Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. are factored in.
    • Unless the researchers have a steady need for the computations, moving work to the cloud makes more sense. Why build a multi-million dollar facility when you can just rent the computers for a day or two for your computation?

      Of course we do. Top500 centres are almost exclusively used for scientific computations. In my field 128-256 GiB of RAM per node and an InfiniBand interconnect @40gbps+ are needed for reasonable performance, with typical jobs using hundreds of CPU cores and larger ones perhaps 8192 CPU cores. Most of sparse matrix algebra requires a lot of comms, things grind to a halt when the interconnect is slow. You can't do this kind of stuff in the cloud, not today.

      • by AnilJ ( 1342025 )
        problems have to be reformulated and new algorithms with tight asymptotic bounds need to be employed while pushing down the constants hidden in big O/Theta notation with highly tuned implementation. All old codes which are currently employed in scientific computing at national labs and/or universities were written with a different computational model in mind.
  • The 20th century was dominated by the USA. The 19th century was dominated by the United Kingdom. It looks rather likely (as demonstrated by this story) that the 21st century will be dominated by China. Can we find other nice clean examples?
    I suggest:
    16th century Spain (on the back of New World gold and silver)

    Anything earlier than this is well short of global impact, due to lack of communications (particularly between the Americas and the rest of the world)
    13th century Mongolia
    8th century expansion of Isla

    • I remember when people kept bleating that Japan was going to take over the world. Whatever happened to Japan?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        They gave up on this world, too many stinking Westerners, instead they've taken over via world with dragons, hot loli princesses, and talking cats.

        Quite the improvement, really.

      • Reagan popped their bubble.
      • Um, post WWII Japan after WWII, with its pacifist constitution is a protected state of the US. Japan is also a democracy. None of those is true for China. China is building up its economy and military to directly challenge the US. China believes its prefect blend of authoritarian capitalism is a superior system to our flawed democracy. A better comparison will be to compare China to pre WWII Japan.

        • When American democracy bombs the shit out of neutral country after neutral country, I think maybe we should let China run things for a while. The world has been demanding an end to the era of American bullying for quite some time now. The biggest threat to world peace is American globalism. This is hardly a controversial conclusion nor one unbacked by copious evidence.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who cares?
    Stop thinking in countries! And in US VS THEM. Research never gave a crap about any of that.

    First and foremost, we are humans. And first and foremost, our research is meant to benefit all of us! So no matter if the people who did it happen to be born in an Area that we are told to currently call "China" or an area that we are currently told to call "USA" ... yay! Well done! You are a role model for humans everywhere!

    I can be happy for them, because in any case, I see them as US, not as THEM.

    But ma

    • I'm glad to see that Germany is finally leader of the free world now, ever since Trump gave up world leadership when he abandoned the Paris agreement. Although I am getting a bit impatient for Germany to actually lead. The German-Chinese cooperation as promised by Merkel should be getting off the ground by now, no?
  • This will change now that Donald Trump is president. If it doesn't I'm sure he'll blame someone else.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @07:55PM (#55544359) Journal

    Should we really be worried about this? Maybe it's heresy here; but what are they doing with these systems? Are the Chinese using them to solve problems that are more interesting and important, or are they just using them to build prestige? Does it really say anything about the country, or are these systems just the computing equivalent of Dubai skyscrapers? Dubai is blowing us away in the skyscraper dept., but I don't want to live there. China might blow us away in flops on these computers, but if they're not doing any interesting science or other applications on them, so what?

    • Good question. I think the Chinese will want to keep those answers under wraps, because their probably using a lot of them for military work. Regarding the pissing contest, everyone "games" benchmarks like these. They call it "tuning" for the workload. The exclusive workload in these cases are--waitforit--the benchmarks themselves. So, they're certainly an indication of what one might expect IRL, but, like auto MPG ratings, not the final word.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      They are doing interesting science. Unlike us here in the US who now have laurel imprints on our fat overweight buttocks, the Chinese are actually thinking about the future. They're going to eat our lunch in every field, in every sector, because we have let fat rich assholes systematically dismantle and destroy everything that used to be innovative in this country. The fat cats have drained so much wealth out of the system that just about everyone starts out in debt. Researchers have to fight for scraps fro

      • Why do you sound pissed off? You should be applauding along with the rest of the world as the America bully finally gets his comeuppance. You can't actually believe in any of that USA #1 bullshit, right? It's racist and jingoist to believe in that kind of thing. China deserves its place in the sun and to avoid a destructive war, America needs to gently retire. Britain had the good sense to do this after WWII and it saved a lot of lives, and now it's America's turn. Patriotism is the last refuge of sco
        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
          I think he's annoyed that the US has been sold off to rich, rent-seeking dickheads. I can see his point to be honest.
          • OK well time to burn it down. China can be world leader and the whole planet will be a better place. Just imagine the loud cheers from every country as America suffers humiliation after humiliation, and most of all imagine the USA #1 morons crying in their shitty watery Lite beers. It's a wonderful future.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They are using their supercomputers for things like materials science, developing new medicines and therapies, AI systems, climate science, genetic modelling... And the tech trickles down too, both in terms of the hardware that is developed and the techniques developed for managing hugely parallel machines.

      Also, in a few years they will have all the bitcoins.

    • Should we really be worried about this? Maybe it's heresy here; but what are they doing with these systems? Are the Chinese using them to solve problems that are more interesting and important, or are they just using them to build prestige?M

      Despite what the West likes to think about China, I highly doubt the Chinese are building these just for mere prestige. They are building know-how. We use to do that. Now, if we cannot immediately predict a definite ROI, we do not even bother to investigate, build know-how or develop social capital.

      Does it really say anything about the country, or are these systems just the computing equivalent of Dubai skyscrapers? Dubai is blowing us away in the skyscraper dept., but I don't want to live there. China might blow us away in flops on these computers, but if they're not doing any interesting science or other applications on them, so what?

      Are you sure about that, that they are not doing anything interesting or useful (assuming then that accumulating know-how is not useful in itself.) I'm sorry but comparing Dubai's skyscrapper rush with Chinese cl

  • The year of the Linux supercomputer happened before the year of the Linux desktop.

    • anyone who has followed supercomputers for more than 20 years knows that, Linux supercomputers existed in the late 1990s.

  • Once leadership in any area is established it becomes next to impossible to change the pecking order of dominance. In the past we have seen both the US and Great Britain achieve economic and military dominance. It seems to take a couple of centuries to change that sort of thing. with computers and electronics the problem may be amplified. For example, powerful computers may be used to design ever more powerful computers. Therefore in order to leap beyond another nation one needs to have the most powerf
    • Then the big news here is Switzerland overtaking the U.S.A and Japan and moving to #3. Watch out, the future will be a noisy place of yodeling and coo-coo clocks, and your cheese will have empty voids in it.

      • Jolly old England got ahead and stayed ahead for several hundred years before they lost the number one spot. The US had about 80 years before we lost the number one spot. One would think that the top position would shift every few weeks as new developments take place. But it does not work that way. Money attracts money and power attracts power. A nation with money and power can hold other nations down for centuries. This is a huge factor in the generation of war. A nation feeling that it can be higher in

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