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Taiwan builds supercomputer cluster for science

High performance calculation engine aims for world's 50th fastest computer

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Government-backed researchers in Taiwan have developed the island's fastest supercomputer to be used from July for a range of scientific and academic projects including climate studies and biotechnology, a developer said on Tuesday.

The cluster that works at 170 trillion floating point calculations per second should rank between 50 and 55 on the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful computers, National Center for High Performance Computing designer Wu Chou-ching said.

The cluster of 25,600 computing cores took six months to build, and answers government demand for a faster machine after earlier models became outdated around 2007, Wu said. The government budgeted NT$300 million (£6.44 million) for the project.

“We’re always doing this sort of research work, constantly looking into high performance computing trends, so this is one of our results,” Wu said in an interview. "It's just not for sure yet which sectors will use it for research."

The high-performance computing center will house the machine, making it available to government agencies and public universities, he said.

In turn, outside researchers are expected to use the supercomputer’s power and resources for climate study, a priority for officials weary of deadly typhoons that hit Taiwan almost every year, and for the study of biotechnology, a top economic development priority for the island.

Taiwan’s engineers have not released the supercomputer's name, Wu said.

The TOP500 title for world's fastest supercomputer now belongs to China’s Tianhe-1A system, which can do 2.67 quadrillion floating-point calculations per second.



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