Europe enters race to build world-class supercomputers

From Engadget - January 12, 2018

To give you an idea of how far behind, China has the world's fastest supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight, with 93 petaflops (93 million billion floating point operations per second) of computing power. The nation is also working on the Tianhe-3 (below), the world's first exascale machine with over ten times the power of TaihuLight, and expects to have that up and running by 2020.

Other top ten machines are located in Japan, US and everywhere but Europe (other than Switzerland, which is not part of the EU but an "associated country.") The only large European player is Atos SE, which built the Bull Sequana shown above. The machine, 55th in global supercomputer rankings, is the first phase of a 25-petaflop computer that will be used by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

Right now, weather, space and other government agencies in Europe, along with private Euro companies like Daimler, Airbus and GlaxoSmithKline must rent supercomputing time on US or Japanese machines. That poses a risk that sensitive personal information, trade secrets and other data could leak or be stolen. If a dispute or crisis happens, Europe could also lose access to those machines.


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