Last June, the Top500 ranking revealed not only the most powerful supercomputer in the world was Chinese, but novelty, this machine is driven by 40.960 processors of Chinese design, ShenWei processors that deliver an output of 93 petaflops. If the engineers have done this national election, it is also because the United States refused to export the Xeon claimed by China. An embargo, which literally has boosted Chinese microprocessor production. So much so that the United States is now concerned to see get Chinese microprocessors “low-cost” to the United States.
The White House fear a wave of Chinese components “low-cost”
The arrival of the Sunway TaihuLight at the head of the ranking of the most powerful supercomputers on the planet is probably symbolic, but for the White House, this announcement has any other scope. It means that China control the design of microprocessors performing since the power consumption of this supercomputer n ° 1 of the Top500 is of the order of 6.05 GFlops/Watt, an excellent score that such microprocessors that could quickly find themselves in the servers and computers sold in the United States and Europe if the Chinese decide to slash prices. At the time of the drones, autonomous cars, the semiconductor industry is strategic for the United States.
The White House has created the Semiconductor Working Group, a working group to establish the lines of research of the semiconductor industry to maintain the American advance on the sector, but also national security. If John Holdren, responsible for science and technology in the White House does not specifically mention China, it refers to countries which could break the chip development costs and dumping on American companies of the components of “lower” technologies. The themes of study of this working group include quantum computing, neural networks.
“Worried about China, the US pushes for homegrown chip development”, PCWorld, November 1st, 2016
“President’s Council Launches Semiconductor Working Group”, Communiqué de la Maison Blanche, october 31, 2016