Published in PC Hardware

China proves that supercomputers don’t need advanced chips

by on14 March 2022

Sunway "OceanLight" runs on 14 nanometer processes

The Chinese supercomputer Sunway "OceanLight" system housed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China proves that you can make do with older technology.

The system comprises 14 nanometer chips in 160 cabinets, which would be 163,840 nodes and just under 2.3 exaflops of peak FP64 and FP32 performance.

This means that China can best the performance of the 1.5 exaflops "Frontier" supercomputer being tuned up at Oak Ridge National Laboratories today and also extend beyond the peak theoretical performance of the 2 exaflops "Aurora" supercomputer coming to Argonne National Laboratory later this year — and maybe even further than the "El Capitan" supercomputer going into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2023 and expected to be around 2.2 exaflops to 2.3 exaflops.

The supercomputer uses a 14 nm SW26010-Pro chip and will have a huge power bill, the chip would be a lot less expensive to make than a GPU accelerator from Nvidia, AMD, or Intel.

What is worse is that even though the technology is comparatively steam-driven it is still an exascale machine that the US does not have. Things will only get worse for the Americans when the Chinese figure out how to make smaller chips, something they would not have bothered to do, if it had not been for those pesky US embargos.  


Last modified on 14 March 2022
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