Stop sharing information with the outside, Chinese supercomputer loses the top position of Top500 despite super powerful performance


An unnamed source said that China is afraid that sharing information will lead to harsh US sanctions.

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According to a source from the SCMP site, Chinese supercomputing institutes have stopped sending data to the Top500 list, a German ranking agency, in the context of the country's relationship with the US. worsen.

Typically, supercomputers, after being developed and completed, send data to the Top500, including development and performance information. The German agency has maintained a ranking of the world's 500 most powerful non-distributed supercomputers since 1993.


The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer at the National Supercomputing Center in Jiangsu Province

 

China used to be an active participant in this ranking, but it has recently been reluctant to share information about the supercomputer due to concerns of "trade frictions" with the US. Washington has put at least 12 Chinese entities linked to supercomputers on an export ban list, including Sugon and the National Center for Supercomputing, the former Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer developer TaihuLight. one-time performance.

In the new Top500 list released last week, the Frontier system located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory of the US Department of Energy has risen to the top. The next positions are the Fugaku system of Japan and the new Lumi system of the European Supercomputing Center in Finland.

China's Sunway TaihuLight system, which topped the list in 2016 and 2017, is now sixth on the list, while the Tianhe-2A system, the champion for the years since 2013 until 2015, now ranks 9th on the list.

Frontier or OLCF-5, is the top supercomputer on the Top500 list that records performance of 1,000 billion floating point operations per second (1,000 FLOPS), aka exascale computing (computer systems capable of performing does 1 billion billion operations per second). Sunway TaihuLight once ranked first in the world with the ability to perform 93 million billion calculations, almost 1/10 of what Frontier can do.


Since then, China has completed three exascale computer prototypes, including: the new generation Sunway supercomputer, Tianhe 3 and another supercomputer from Sugon.

However, China only shares very little information about these three computers, less than what the Top500 list requires, so it is difficult to know the exact computing power of these supercomputers.


An article published in the Global Times on Wednesday said that part of China's reluctance to release information about its supercomputer is due to fear of risks related to commands. US sanctions.

" Excellent Chinese companies on the Top500 list could be blacklisted by the US and face harsh sanctions ." The article said.

Despite the obstacles, China is making progress in developing next-generation computer systems. A group of 14 Chinese computer scientists won the Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing systems last November for closing the gap in "quantum supremacy". Sunway's next-generation exascale supercomputer completes a computational task with the same speed as Google's Sycamore quantum computer launched in 2019.

Although no longer topping the Top500 rankings, China is still the country with the most supercomputer systems in the world with 173 systems. The US currently has 126 systems, down from 150 announced in November 2021.



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