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It’s fast, it’s very fast

China joins supercomputer world’s G2

At a cost of $88 million it had better not flop. Or rather, it better petaflop. This week China unveiled its new supercomputer, which at its peak speed is capable of more than one quadrillion calculations per second – also known as a petaflop.

Named Tianhe – which means ‘Milky Way’ – China is only the second country after the US to build a petaflop computer, reckons a very proud China Daily. Taking almost 200 computer engineers and two years to design and build, the Tianhe marks another lurch in China’s climb up the tech curve. The Tianjin-housed supercomputer weighs 155 tonnes and can do as many calculations in one day as an ordinary PC manages in 160 years. Or to add another perspective: if China’s 1.3 billion people each took a high-res digital photo, Tianhe could store them all. More likely the world’s fourth fastest supercomputer will be used for seismic data processing to aid oil exploration.


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