Legend launches China's first super machine

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2002, 12:00am

China yesterday achieved a major advance in its technology ambitions as computer vendor Legend Group launched the country's first world-class domestic supercomputer.

Named the Legend Deepcomp 1800, Legend said its first supercomputer was able to reach a speed of 1.06 teraflops, or one trillion floating-point operations per second. This would put the system in the ranks of the world's top 25 supercomputers.

The 14-metre machine occupies 20 cabinets and uses a total of 526 Intel Xeon microprocessors with 272 gigabytes of RAM and six terabytes of storage.

Legend said the system was designed to be expandable and easily managed.

In a statement yesterday, Yang Yuanqing, president and chief executive of Legend, said: 'Legend is the first Chinese enterprise to commercialise supercomputers. The successful development of Legend Supercomputer will end the monopoly of foreign computer products in China's high-performance computer market.'

The machine is due to be installed at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in September, and will be used for a wide range of industrial, geological, meteorological and medical research.

The majority of the world's supercomputers are used for weather simulation, industrial design and military applications.

China's first attempt at entering the supercomputing field was the Yinhe-3, developed by China's University of National Defence Science and Technology in 1999. The Yinhe-3 reportedly achieved a modest 13 gigaflops.

With few exceptions, the world's supercomputing arena is dominated by United States and Japanese vendors, particularly IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Cray, SGI, NEC, Fujitsu and Hitachi.

According to popular supercomputing site Top500.org, the world's most powerful supercomputer is the NEC Earth Simulator

The Earth Simulator uses 5,104 processors and can reach a speed of 35.86 teraflops, making Deepcomp almost a home PC by comparison. A teraflop is a trillion floating-point operations per second. After that comes IBM's Asci White, which can operate at 7.26 teraflops.

The company said 60 technicians had been involved in the machine's development

According to Top500.org, the most powerful computer in China is the 245 gigaflop SuperDome 750, a popular HP platform that was installed by Beijing Social Insurance last year. It ranks 194. HeiLongJiang Mobile and the Agricultural Bank of China also own supercomputers.

There are two more in Hong Kong, one at the Hong Kong Observatory and one in the financial industry.