For centuries, Chinese people tabulated sums using the abacus, an invention that figured prominently in the proto-scientific aspect of their society. Now China is set to leap far into 21st century number crunching, not with fingers flicking wheels of wood along spindles -- but with a super computer. The world's speediest such unit is called the Tianhe-1A. Changsha University in Hunan Province, central China, started to construct the mainland's third National Supercomputing Center (NSCC) to house this machine on November 28 for completion at the end of 2011.
Du Zhanyuan is the vice minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology. He says that its functional capacity is one quadrillion computing operations per second. The center will be the latest addition to the global network of eight quadrillion-level supercomputing centers and national labs.
China is racing along here. In November, the Tianhe-1A in Tianjin, about two hours south of Beijing, was declared the world's fastest computer based on its 2.57 quadrillion computing operations per second. But the Tianhe-1A is set to better that.
As for its uses, the machine will offer super calculating for scientific research, animation design, pharmaceuticals, meteorology and such advanced projects, so promises Xu Shousheng, the provincial governor. "The setting up of the NSCC in Changsha will raise the innovative level of Hunan Province and of central China," forsees Xu.
When the system is online, it will surely boost industrial, military and social capacity to new levels. It means innovation in products and design and improvements in quality. Stay tuned here for updates.
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