It’s official: China’s next supercomputer, the petascale Dawning 6000, will be constructed exclusively with home-grown microprocessors. Weiwu Hu, chief architect of the Loongson (also known as “Godson”) family of CPUs at the Institute of Computing Technology (ICT), a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also confirms that the supercomputer will run Linux. This is a sharp departure from China’s last supercomputer, the Dawning 5000a, which debuted at number 11 on the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers in 2008, and was built with AMD chips and ran Windows HPC Server.
The arrival of Dawning 6000 will be an important landmark for the Loongson processor family, which to date has been used only in inexpensive, low-power netbooks and nettop PCs. When the Dawning 5000a was initially announced, it too was meant to be built with Loongson processors, but the Dawning Information Industry Company, which built the computer, eventually went with AMD chips, citing a lack of support for Windows, and the ICT’s failure to deliver a sufficiently powerful chip in time.
The Dawning 6000 will be completed by mid-2010 at the latest, says Hu, and could be up and running as early as the end of 2010. It is the second time that a representative from the ICT has promised a supercomputer built entirely using Loongson processors. Continue reading.