Dongarra Talks Chinese Supercomputer Domination with Wall Street Journal, New York Times

UT Professor Jack Dongarra helps compile the annual list of the world’s fastest computers.

Lately, that list has taken on a distinct Chinese look, with the once-dominant U.S. having fewer and fewer high performers.

That trend continued this year, with China dominating the rankings with its Sunway TaihuLight and 167 others, two more than the 165 the U.S. placed on the list.

That marks the first time that China has led the rankings, knocking the U.S. from that perch.

Not only is China excelling in numbers, but in performance as well.

The Sunway TaihuLight is twice as powerful as the second place machine—also Chinese—and more than five times as powerful as the best the U.S. has to offer, the Titan machine at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Dongarra—who directs UT’s Innovative Computing Laboratory, was contacted by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times for his expertise on the matter.

Dongarra told the Journal that it will be 2018 before a U.S. computer of similar prowess comes online, and that perhaps the most impressive part of the Chinese effort was that it is energy efficient as well.

He explained to the Times that one of the reasons China’s supercomputing knowledge has picked up might be out of necessity since the U.S. blocked the sale of chip technology to China over fears it might be used for nuclear weapons.