Well fuck… first China wants to control the world’s supply of rare earth minerals, and then they announce that they want their very own space station, they’ve got the world’s fastest train, they’ve got LIVE CRAB VENDING MACHINES and now it appears that they’ve built the world’s fastest supercomputer at a whopping 2.5 petaflops.
Tianhe-1A was designed by the National University of Defense Technology in China, but like the XT5 Jaguar it will be operated as an open access system for high-powered, large scale scientific computations. Costing $88 million, Tianhe-1A weighs 155 tons and consumes 4.04 megawatts of electricity.
That sounds like a lot of power, but for what Tianhe-1A is capable of it’s actually pretty efficient. By integrating GPUs (graphic processing units) versus CPUs (central processing units, or your basic microprocessors) cuts power consumption substantially, making it three times more efficient that a CPU-only computer with the same performance (such a computer would require more than 50,000 CPUs, according to NVIDIA).