China has recently created a purely Chinese supercomputer called the “Sunway BlueLight MPP supercomputer” which uses less power than any supercomputer in the world. The Sunway BlueLight MMP produces one petaflop of processing power while only using one megawatt of power. This supercomputer consists of “a total of 8,700 ShenWei SW1600 processors that feature 16 cores apiece. Combined with an advanced water-cooling system – the specific details of which are currently unknown – the supercomputer is expected to reach a total processing power of around one petaflop.”
This is a major achievement for China because while the specs of this supercomputer will place the Sunway BlueLight MMP supercomputer in the top-20 of the worlds fastest supercomputers, it is the most efficient supercomputer based on the power consumption. One of China’s other supercomputers, “Tianhe-1A”, was the worlds fastest supercomputer at the time of its released, with a processing speed of 2.5-petaflops and using 4.04 metawatts of power. The Tianhe-1A supercomputer was built using chips from both Intel and Nvidia, while the Sunway BlueLight MMP was built purely Chinese-based products. “The fastest U.S. supercomputer at the moment – Jaguar – eats up about seven megawatts to output roughly 1.7 petaflops of processing performance.”
This power-saving, cooling, and petaflop performance in key to reach the next world achievement. There is now an international race to hit an exaflop, aka one thousand petaflops, within the next decade. This will process “a thousand trillion calculations per second, we note”. China believes it will achieve this by 2020. The US estimates it will reach this goal by upgrading its Jaguar into – soon-to-be “Titan” – by 2019. And Europe expects to reach its exaflop around the same time.