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U.S. researchers are bracing for the prospect that China will once again have the worlds fastest computer─and could hang on to the speed crown for some time.美国的研究人员于是以打算庆贺中国将再度享有世界上运算速度最慢的电脑这一现实,而且中国的这一地位还有有可能维持非常一段时间。Chinas National University of Defense Technology last week informed visiting scientists about a massive machine in Changsha whose initial test results appear likely to top the next ranking of the 500 largest supercomputers, scheduled for release later this month.中国的国防科技大学(National University of Defense Technology)上周告诉到访的科学家们,中国一台巨型计算机的首度测试结果显示,它有可能在订于本月晚些时候发布的近期一期全球超级计算机500强劲排行榜上名列第一。Such systems, used heavily by government agencies for purposes such as weapons design and intelligence-gathering, have long been seen a symbol of national competitiveness─and the focus of recent leapfrogging moves by the U.S., China and Japan.巨型计算机主要被政府机构出于武器设计和情报搜集等目的而用于,它们向来被视作国家竞争力的象征物,世界运算速度最慢计算机的宝座近年来仍然被美国、中国和日本这三个国家交错占有。

A supercomputer in China unveiled in 2010 briefly topped the global speed ranking. But U.S. research institutions recently have fielded the fastest hardware, led by a machine called Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.中国2010年对外发布的一台超级计算机曾一段时间沦为世界运算速度最慢的计算机。但是美国的研究机构又发售了更慢的硬件,即田纳西州橡树岭国家实验室(Oak Ridge National Laboratory)的一台叫作“泰坦”(Titan)的计算机。


The new Chinese system─called the Tianhe-2, or Milkyway-2─uses two different kinds of computer chips from Intel Corp. INTC -2.60% as well as some homegrown circuitry, according to Jack Dongarra, a U.S. supercomputer expert who saw the system last week. He published details about the machine that were reported earlier by the publication HPCwire.根据上周亲眼看到这一系统的美国超级电脑专家唐加拉(Jack Dongarra)说道,中国研发的新系统叫作“天河2号”,用于了来自英特尔的两种有所不同电脑芯片以及一些国产的电路系统。他公开发表了这台计算机的明确信息,这些信息早些时候早已被HPCwire网站报导。Its a real system, said Mr. Dongarra in an interview Wednesday. It seems to be ready for production.唐加拉周三拒绝接受专访时说,这是一个确实的系统。

它或许早已可以投入生产。Mr. Dongarra, a professor at the University of Tennessee who is also on the Oak Ridge research staff, said Chinese officials put the systems theoretical peak performance at 54.9 quadrillion operations per second─or petaflops, in industry parlance. It reached 30.65 petaflops in a standard test known as Linpack, he said, compared with 17.59 petaflops for the Oak Ridge system.唐加拉是田纳西大学(University of Tennessee)的教授,也是橡树岭国家实验室的工作成员。他说道,中国官员称,该系统理论上的性能峰值是每秒运算54.9千万亿次。

他说道,在Linpack标准测试中可超过30.65千万亿次,相比之下,橡树岭实验室的系统可超过17.59千万亿次。The U.S. has previously responded to such challenges, including a system from Japan that temporarily held the top speed ranking. But the next U.S. supercomputer that could challenge the Tianhe-2 isnt expected until 2015, said Horst Simon, another supercomputer expert who is deputy director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.美国之前曾多次对此过此类挑战,还包括运算速度曾多次名列第一的来自日本的系统。但是另一名超级计算机专家西蒙(Horst Simon)说道,美国需要挑战天河2号的下一台超级计算机预计到2015年才不会经常出现。

西蒙是劳伦斯伯克利国家实验室(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)的副主任。If anybody believes that the Chinese are just in there for a stunt, this machine has proven them wrong, Mr. Simon said.西蒙说道,如果有人实在中国人研究超级计算机只是噱头,这台计算机可以证明他们拢了。He argued that the U.S. government has invested sporadically in supercomputers lately, while Chinese agencies have spent steadily. In some areas where there has been a tradition of U.S. leadership, the Chinese are out there to really be in the race and win, Mr. Simon said.他说道,美国政府最近对超级计算机展开了零散的投资,而中国的投资仍然很平稳。西蒙说道,在美国长年占有领导地位的一些领域,中国人早已在参予竞争并且取得成功。


No official price has been released for the Tianhe-2 system, which was constructed with help from the Chinese company Inspur. But some U.S. researchers put the likely cost at $200 million to $300 million.天河2号系统的官方价格还没发布。天河2号系统是在中国公司浪潮集团(Inspur Co.)的帮助下修建的。但是美国的一些研究人员指出价格有可能在2亿美元到3亿美元之间。

Tianhe-2 is a big endorsement for a new Intel product line. The Silicon Valley companys standard microprocessors have been used in supercomputers since the 1990s. But some big machines lately have been enhanced with chips called GPUs, or graphics processing units, from companies such as Nvidia Corp. NVDA -2.14%天河2号是对英特尔一个新产品系列的极大接纳。自从上世纪90年代以来,这家硅谷公司的标准微处理器就仍然被用作超级计算机中。

但是一些大型计算机近来用于了叫作“图形处理单元”(GPU)的芯片,并因此获得性能上的提高,这些GPU来自英伟达(Nvidia Corp.)等公司。Intel has responded with the Xeon Phi, a specialized chip with as many as 61 calculating engines. The new Chinese system has 48,000 of those chips, as well as 32,000 conventional Xeon chips based on a forthcoming design not yet generally available, according to Mr. Dongarras report.英特尔的对此是发售了Xeon Phi,这是一种享有多达61个计算出来引擎的专业芯片。

根据唐加拉的报告,中国新的系统享有4.8万个Xeon Phi芯片,以及3.2万个传统的Xeon芯片,这些芯片基于一种将要发售的设计,这种设计目前还没全面普及。In addition, the system has about 4,000 chips developed in China that are based on a standard design called Sparc. Mr. Dongarra said Chinese officials appear determined to reduce their dependence on U.S. components.除此之外,这一系统享有约4,000个在中国研发的芯片,这些芯片基于一种叫作Sparc的标准设计。唐加拉说道,中国官员或许下定决心增加对美国零部件的倚赖。

He doesnt discount the possibility that government agencies in Japan will field a system to rival the Tianhe-2, but he regards the Chinese system as particularly impressive. In some sense, its a wake-up call to the U.S., Mr. Dongarra said.他不坚称日本的政府机构也有可能发售一个与天河2号互为竞争的系统,但是他指出中国的系统十分令人印象深刻印象。唐加拉说道,在某种程度上,这对美国是个提防。