The application of the biggest short board in the localization of Wuxi supercomputer core components

  On June 20th, at the International Supercomputing Conference held in Frankfurt, Germany, the TOP500 list of supercomputers was released, and "Shenwei Taihu Light" won the title with the computing speed nearly three times that of the second place.

  How fast is it? If you add up more than 2 million latest ordinary computers, the computing power can only be tied with it; Its 1-minute computing power is equivalent to more than 7 billion people around the world using calculators for 32 years without interruption.

  It is noteworthy that this "Shenwei Taihu Light" computer system from Wuxi Center of National Supercomputing in Binhu District, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province has realized the localization of all core components including the processor.

  Supercomputers should not only run fast, but also be "useful". The Gordon Bell Prize, established in 1987, is hailed as the Nobel Prize in the field of high-performance computer applications. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, China’s team has never been shortlisted. However, this time, all three scientific research projects based on "Shenwei Taihu Light" were shortlisted for this award.

  Breaking through the blockade "China Core"

  "I don’t have to worry about being blocked anymore." Huang Jianguo, deputy director of the National Supercomputing Wuxi Center, said, "From personal computers to supercomputers, the biggest pain point for domestic scientists is that computer chips basically rely on exports, and we have never taken the initiative." In April, 2015, the U.S. government announced that four China institutions related to supercomputers were listed on the export restricted list, with the aim of restricting the development of supercomputers in China.

  Huang Jianguo said that the domestic "Tianhe-2" supercomputer ranked first in the world for three years in a row, but it got stuck when it was preparing to purchase a new generation of processors last year, which finally led to the failure to complete the research goal as scheduled.

  As early as 2011, there were supercomputers with domestic processors in China, but at that time, the speed could only reach trillions of times, ranking 14th in the world. At that time, China paid more attention to the supercomputer with the highest speed in the world. This domestic processor was rarely known by Chinese people, but it attracted much attention abroad. Independent processors, high-density assembly technology and water cooling systems became the focus of attention.

  At present, "Shenwei 26010 Chip" is the third generation domestic processor, which is supported by the Nuclear High Foundation Program of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and developed by the National High Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center. "The ordinary computer chip we usually use is ‘ Multi-core ’ , this chip adopts ‘ Many-core architecture ’ . This silver-white chip integrates 260 computing cores and billions of transistors, reaching a computing power of more than 3 trillion times per second. " Huang Jianguo said.

  The key indicators rank first in the world.

  In December 2015, with the support of the National "863 Program", the Ministry of Science and Technology, Jiangsu Province and Wuxi City jointly invested 1.795 billion yuan, and the National Research Center for Parallel Computer Engineering Technology successfully developed "Shenwei Taihu Light", which used 40,960 chips.

  The computer room where "Light of Taihu Lake" is located has no noise except air conditioning. It is the first supercomputer in the world with a running speed of over 1 billion cycles per second, with a peak performance of 1.25 billion cycles per second and a continuous performance of 930 million cycles per second, nearly three times that of "Tianhe II", and its key indicators rank first in the world.

  "Every ‘ Nuclear ’ They are all computing units. They are team operations and are no longer individual operations. " Huang Jianguo explained that the biggest feature of this computer is to let thousands of "nuclear" work together and play an effective role.

  An expert who participated in the development introduced that the energy consumption of a supercomputer can be almost equal to that of a small town, and power consumption is the bottleneck for the computer to improve its speed. The system energy efficiency ratio of this supercomputer is as high as 6.05 billion times per watt, which is more than 60% energy-saving than Tianhe II.

  The computer system also adopts efficient water cooling technology, high-density assembly technology, etc. The low-power design inside the chip and the length of wires inside the chassis are all aimed at reducing energy consumption.

  "The biggest shortcoming is the application"

  "With this computer system, we can complete the simulation of the earth’s climate in the next 100 years in 30 days, which was unimaginable before." Xue Wei, an associate professor at Tsinghua University, said.

  At present, the National Supercomputing Wuxi Center has established application cooperation relations with more than 30 domestic user units such as Peking University, Institute of Software of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 702 CSIC, Yuanjing Energy, Tsinghua University and National Computational Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, focusing on aerospace, oil exploration, vehicle and boat design, animation production, new drug research and development, biological information, climate simulation and so on.

  Huang Jianguo introduced that there are supercomputers in China that have become the fastest computers in the world for three consecutive years, but they have not done enough in application. There is no problem with computer hardware, and the biggest shortcoming is the application.

  Liu Zhao, an application support engineer at Wuxi National Supercomputing Center, said that the supporting application of supercomputers began as early as one year ago.

  Weather forecast is one of the main uses of supercomputers. Wang Lanning, a professor at the Institute of Global Change and Earth System Science of Beijing Normal University, said: "Whether it rains or not depends on the movement of clouds. With a supercomputer, the movement of clouds can be accurately simulated and observed."

  Over the years, the observation accuracy of weather forecast has also changed with supercomputers. In 2011, the observation accuracy of Tianhe-1 in Tianjin was 100,000 kilometers, and that of Shenwei Blu-ray was 10,000 kilometers, while that of Shenwei Taihu Light was reduced to 9 kilometers, and now it is moving towards 3 kilometers. Wang Lanning said that with the support of faster supercomputing ability in the future, the weather forecast can be foolproof.

  As a member of the team of "Global Non-hydrostatic Cloud Resolution Simulation", Wang Lanning’s project was shortlisted for the Gordon Bell Award. A domestic expert who has been paying attention to supercomputers for a long time said that through nearly 10 years’ efforts, China’s software application field has expanded from a few key fields to all walks of life, but the software in the field is huge in scale, long in development cycle, high in cost and difficult. The development of efficient and mature domestic parallel application software requires the joint efforts of relevant experts, supercomputer system manufacturers and software personnel, so as to develop a high-performance computer system that is easy to use, practical and effective, and fully cooperate with users to develop high-performance application software.

  Among the six nominations for this year’s Gordon Bell Award, the application based on "Shenwei Taihu Light" accounted for three, involving atmosphere, ocean and materials respectively. This is the first time that China has been nominated for this award.