Belfast Telegraph

China's Tianhe-1 is world's fastest supercomputer

China has claimed to have built the world's fastest supercomputer, underlining its rise as a science and technology powerhouse.

The Tianhe-1 machine, housed at the National Centre for Supercomputing in the northern port city of Tianjin, is capable of sustained computing of 2.507 petaflops, the equivalent of 2,507 trillion calculations, per second.

The announcement was posted on Chinese computer research websites. An official listing of the world's fastest supercomputers, the semi-annual TOP500, is due to be issued on Friday.

If verified, Tianhe-1 would be significantly faster than the current title holder, the US Department of Energy's Cray XT5 Jaguar in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which topped the list issued in June at 1.75 petaflops per second.

Supercomputers are used for complex work such as modelling weather systems, simulating nuclear explosions and designing airliners.

The announcement highlighted how China is using rapid economic growth and sharp increases in research spending to join the United States, Europe and Japan in the global technology elite.

A 15-year government plan issued in 2006 promises support for areas ranging from computers to lasers to genetics.