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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Most Powerful Computer

The computer has become a key element of our future, and especially in our Silicon Valley, they are central to innovation and technology. For example, a computer AI used machine learning to develop its abilities to eventually defeat the world’s best players in both chess and Go. With all the computers that are being made around the world, they have become commonplace in our lives. The processing power of computers is truly mind-blowing, able to do millions of calculations per second. If you can, imagine a computer thousands of times as powerful as the computer you are reading this with. Process that thought for a second, and think about how many thoughts you were able to have compared to the sheer number of calculations a computer like that could do in the same amount of time. The computer that you are imagining is the Sunway TaihuLight: the most powerful computer in the world.




The Sunway TaihuLight, a Chinese supercomputer, was completed in June 2016, completely toppling over the old reigning supercomputer, the Tianhe-2, with its max processing power of 125 petaflops per second, which happens to be several times more powerful than the Tianhe-2. To put that into perspective, a petaflop is 1000 teraflops, or 1 with 15 zeros behind it. That’s how many floating point operations it can do in just one second! As humans, we could probably only do one, maybe two calculations in a second. With the Sunway TaihuLight, China now has the world’s fastest two supercomputers, both of which are more than TWICE as fast as the 3rd fastest computer in the world, the Titan, an American computer.


The TaihuLight has custom-designed SW26010 processor, and compared to older supercomputers computers, which averaged around 2 gigaflops per watt in terms of efficiency, the TaihuLight is able to run at about 6 gigaflops per watt. In other words, the TaihuLight can do three times the work with the same amount of power!

Overall, the TaihuLight took $270 million to make including the research and creation of the supercomputer. Do you think that America will be able to top China’s supercomputer in the coming years? Or will China remain the world’s leader in supercomputers? Write your thoughts in the comments below.





Post Written by Howard W., Homework Assistant

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