In Depth

China's planned exascale computer threatens Summit's position at the top

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Science  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6376, pp. 618
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6376.618

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China's rise to the top of the supercomputing world has been swift. It's only been in this decade that the country first claimed bragging rights to the world's most powerful supercomputer. It has held a tight grip on those rights the last few years. The United States is expected to reclaim the top spot later this year, as it is nearing completion of Summit, a supercomputer that is expected to be twice as powerful as its closest rival. Nevertheless, China is widely expected to produce the first supercomputer capable of carrying out 1 billion billion calculations per second, or 1 exaflop. If this exascale supercomputer comes online in 2020 as promised, that could put it a year or more ahead of similar exascale systems now being developed in the United States, Japan, and the European Union.