China military unveils fastish supercomputer

China’s defense boffins yesterday threw a rare press conference to show off their new supercomputer, the Tianhe, which they rated as fastest in China and fourth in the world.
 
But independent experts described it as the “least efficient supercomputer on the mainland.”
 
The giant machine, made from 6,000 Intel processors and 5,000 ATI graphic accelerator chips and weighing 155 tonnes, can carry out more than one quadrillion calculations per second, or a petaflop. 
 
But when researchers ran the standard LINPACK benchmark program, they found it had an operating efficiency of 46.7%, scmp.com reported. Running at full processing capacity it should achieve a speed of 1.206 teraflops. Its actual score was just 563.1 teraflops
 
This makes it the least efficient in the world, according to the global supercomputing ranking site Top500.org.
 
The IBM Roadrunner, the world's fastest computer, can run at 1,105 teraflops with an efficiency level of 75.8%, and Germany's JUGENE runs at 82.3%.
 
“The poor performance of the Tianhe One indicates that China lags very far behind,” said Sun Gongxing, deputy director of the Computing Centre at the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “You could not fill a box with a million CPUs and call it the biggest.”

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