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With 229 TB of RAM, China Invests More in its Supercomputers, Cloud Computing

"And if you press this icon, you can play Angry Birds!" (Image source: People's Daily Online)

What do Tianjin, Shenzhen, Changsha and Ji’nan Have In Common? They’re all home to China’s four biggest supercomputer centers.

Apt for the world’s biggest nation (when it comes to netizen headcount): China’s supercomputers have the world looking at the country — and is yet another big thingfor China. One of the centerpieces of this: Tianhe-1 (pictured above). Based in Tianjin, it is China’s first supercomputer.

Tianhe-1’s got a pretty tall order. Don’t overlook it because of its rather small user base of just 200 users: they’re all those with pretty heavy demands. Users include those in the oil exploration, biomedicine, and financial risk analysis industries, according to reports from the Chinese Xinhua news agency.

These computers are pretty amazingly fast: they scream along at 100 teraflops at maximum speed. They’re also huge: System C at the Chinese National Supercomputing Center (NSC) in Tianjin, for example, has 128 CPUs with 2,304 GB (a fair bit over 2 TB) of RAM and storage capacity of 128 TB. Scarier still is the entire Tianhe system, which comes with a grand total of 229 TB of RAM and 2 PB (as in over 2,048 TB) of storage space. Unsurprisingly, you can’t take one of these babies home — yet. Mac folks probably don’t really want to: none of these runs OS X in any form…

However, in the Xinhua interview, Luo Jun, vice-director of the Tianjin supercomputing center, admits that China could run more applications on these platforms. “If we just take a look at the Tianjin center of the NSC, there’s still more room for these 200+ clients to grow.” The latest addition to the NSC came in the form of the Ji’nan center, which went into use in last month.

And in related, recent news, China’s thinking about a first batch of five cloud computing cities – which would add to the ground-breaking current one in Chongqing, central China, which reportedly will be exempt from Great Firewall restrictions.

The five cloud computing centers would be in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Wuxi, meaning that all those will be close to the “big three” megacities (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou).


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