AfterDawn: Glossary


Tianhe-1A is a supercomputer located in China. When it was built, it was claimed to be the world's fastest supercomputer.

It claims a performance record of 2.507 petaflops (flops == floating point operations per second; petaflops == 1015), smashing a previous record set by the Cray XT5 Jaguar (1.75 petaflops).

The supercomputer uses both NVIDIA Tesla M2050 graphics processing units and Intel Xeon CPUs; 7,168 units and 14,336 respectively.

It consumes 4.04 megawatts of power in operation, covers 17,000 square feet comprising 103 computer racks. It was developed for the National University of Defense Technology in China.

In November 2010, the Tianhe-1A was officially crowned the fastest supercomputer on Earth, topping the semi annual top 500 list of supercomputers. News media and commentators talked about how the U.S. had been dethroned after six years of having its systems top the list (since it took over from Japan).

However, it is important to note that the Tianhe-1A still relies on U.S.-made chips to do its phenomenal calculations, a sign that the Chinese microchip industry is still well in its infancy. Regardless, the ultra-high-speed interconnect technology and software that runs the system was completely developed in China.


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