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China Joins Supercomputer Elite

By BBC News

November 19, 2009

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China has become one of a handful of nations to own one of the top five supercomputers in the world. Its Tianhe-1 computer, housed at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin was ranked fifth on the biannual Top 500 supercomputer list. The machine packs more than 70,000 chips and can compute 563 trillion calculations per second (teraflops). It is used for petroleum exploration and engineering tasks such as simulating aircraft designs.

However, the fastest machine is the U.S.-owned Jaguar supercomputer, which now boasts a speed of 1.759 petaflops. It is used to monitor the U.S. nuclear stockpile, as well as conduct research into astronomy, genomics and climate change.

The Top 500 list is dominated by machines in the U.S., which is home to 277 of ranked systems. Europe has 153 systems on the list.

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