In Brief
The Sunway TaihuLight is now the world's fastest supercomputer. Developed by China, it more than triples the speed of Tianhe-2, which is the previous record holder.

A New Heavyweight

The world has a new supercomputer, and it beats all the rest by a long shot. The computer, which was built by Chinese engineers using their own homegrown chip technology, has been declared the world’s fastest.

This news isn’t too surprising, as China has been taking the lead in a host of industrial and technological efforts. Indeed, this development underscores the fact that China is no longer as reliant on the United States for its semiconductor technology.

The tech is known as the Sunway TaihuLight. It more than triples the speed of Tianhe-2. Reports assert that the new record holder is capable of performing a staggering 93 quadrillion calculations per second (which is otherwise known as as petaflops).

“As the first number one system of China that is completely based on homegrown processors, the Sunway TaihuLight system demonstrates the significant progress that China has made in the domain of designing and manufacturing large-scale computation systems,” Center director Prof. Dr. Guangwen Yang told TOP500 News, noting the significance of this development.

The TaihuLight has 41,000 chips and each has 260 processor cores. This equals out to a total of 10.65 million cores.

The Older Models

The previous record-holder is the Tianhe-2, which is also located in China. For three consecutive years, China topped the global list for the most powerful supercomputer with the Tianhe-2, which translates as Milky Way-2. It is a computer that is located at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). Ultimately, it can perform some 33.8 quadrillion calculations in just one second.

But Tianhe-2 gets blown away by this latest contender.

And how does the rest of the world stack up? Well, not that great. The Sunway TaihuLight is roughly five times more powerful than the fastest system in the United States, which is now ranked third worldwide.