The battle for one-upmanship between China and the United States is not just restricted to the realms of international trade and the military. It permeates deep into the complex world of digital technology and of supercomputers.
Once upon a time, the fastest supercomputers were regularly developed by Americans. Then, China entered the fray to take the mantle. In June, the US snatched it right back with The Summit Supercomputer capable of 200,000 trillion (or 200 petaflops) calculations per second. And now, China is reportedly developing a new supercomputer that could blow rivals out of the park.
State-run Global Times has reported that several science institutes have been developing a new supercomputer for two years which could do calculations at the speed of 1,000 petaflops – that’s five times quicker than the existing American record-holder. While a prototype is believed to be ready, the new supercomputer in its true manifestation would also be leaps and bounds ahead of the current Chinese supercomputer which does calculations at the speed of 125.4 petaflops.
If the Americans thought beating the Chinese by a margin of 60% was a solid blow, there is an unprecedented and ginormous counterpunch in the offing.
It is reported that almost every component of the new supercomputer has been manufactured domestically and an official in the know said he is confident of a formal launch by 2020.