China Overtakes US With Fastest Supercomputer

New system 'blows away' US best
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2010 2:26 PM CDT
China Overtakes US With Fastest Supercomputer
The Department of Energy's National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. released this photograph Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, showing some of the 284 computer cabinets making up the lab's Jaguar supercomputer.   (AP Photo/Oak Ridge Nat. Lab)

A new Chinese supercomputer is the fastest in the world, able to perform mathematical operations much faster than the previous record-holder, a US system in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The system, Tianhe-1A, was recently subjected to the tests that serve as a benchmark for supercomputer rankings, reports the New York Times.

“We don’t close the books until Nov. 1, but I would say it is unlikely we will see a system that is faster,” says a scientist involved with the rankings. The achievement goes beyond national pride—these systems are used in calculations necessary for everything from defense research to finding oil reservoirs. "The US dominance in high-performance computing is at risk,” says an expert at Virginia Polytechnic. “One could argue that this hits the foundation of our economic future.”

(Read more China stories.)

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