Supercomputers Are Growing In Stature

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China’s Phenomenal Progress In Supercomputers

China's  supercomputer  was made from its own chips
China's supercomputer was made from its own chips | Source

New Drugs Can Be Discovered By Using A Supercomputer Fast


New Drugs Can Be Discovered By Using A Supercomputer Fast

Supercomputer can perform calculations and predictions in the field of bioinformatics, climate modelling, molecular modelling, cosmology and other domains. Billions of organic molecules can be modelled, created, studied and experimented using supercomputers. New drugs can be discovered and tested to cure diseases. Therefore supercomputers are useful not only in defence but in civilian areas also. Compared to China, India’s performance in the field of supercomputers is way below par. One of the reasons for this below average performance by India is that integrated and coordinated efforts between the application domain experts and system researchers is lacking. This coordinated effort is a must for ensuring solving of gigantic problems on a large number of processors. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) constructed its own supercomputer in May last year. It is supposed to be India’s fastest supercomputer in terms of its theoretical peak performance. But ISRO has not disclosed full details of this supercomputer, maybe due to security reasons.

China’s Phenomenal Progress In Supercomputers

China’s progress in supercomputers is phenomenal. The data storage system of the Sunway Bluelight supercomputer at the National Supercomputing Centre in Jinan has astonished even the Americans. Jinan is the capital of Shandong Province in Eastern China. China manufactured this supercomputer based entirely on Chinese microprocessor chips. This supercomputer can perform 1000 trillion calculations per second. It is ranked among twenty fastest supercomputers in the world. What has surprised the American experts is not its speed, but the fact that the entire supercomputer was made by using 8700 ShenWei SW1600 microprocessors designed in a Chinese computer institute and made in Shanghai, the financial and technology capital of China. Why should the Americans be surprised about this? This is because the Chinese are nearly three generations backward in state-of-the-art chip-making technology. Countries like USA, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are far ahead of China in chip making technology. In Chip technology, American companies like Intel and Nvidia are on the top with other companies from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Cooling Technology Needs To Be Perfect For High Speed Supercomputers

Taiwan is called the electronic capital of the world. Innovations are constantly taking place here. China wants to attack Taiwan and grab it, but it is afraid of US military action. Samsung and LG from South Korea are very strong in hardware technology. The best mobile phone in the world is from Samsung in terms of hardware. Samsung lags behind in software. USA is trying to achieve the seemingly impossible speed of one exaflop in supercomputers. One exaflop means one million trillion mathematical operations in a second’s time. It will be an astounding achievement if it is done. USA is confident of achieving this speed before the decade. But enormous amount of electric current is required to run a supercomputer at such unimaginable speeds. An entire nuclear power plant or a thermal power plant will have to be dedicated for achieving such speeds. On the other hand the existing supercomputers in the world require power of the order of around 5-7 MW. Cooling technology also needs to be upgraded when the speed of a supercomputer increases abnormally.

What Will Happen If Terrorists Acquire A Supercomputer?

If a supercomputer falls into the hands of a terrorist, that  is the end of the world
If a supercomputer falls into the hands of a terrorist, that is the end of the world | Source

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Supercomputers Are Growing In Stature


We Use 1970 Supercomputers As Our PCs Today

ISRO’s SAGA-220 supercomputer has a speed of 220 teraflops – 10 followed by 12 zeroes. A pentaflop supercomputer has 10 followed by 15 zeroes. A normal PC has 10 followed by three zeroes. You can compare how much a supercomputer is powerful when compared to a normal PC. A normal PC needs an Internet speed of 1 mbps. Telecom companies and banks use huge speeds of the order of 4 gbps. Supercomputer uses a speed of 20 gbps. But we can get a satisfaction from the fact that the normal desktop computer we use at our homes was a supercomputer in 1970. Probably we will be using today’s supercomputers as our normal PCs in about two to three decades time.

Supercomputer Can Reduce Cost For Oil Exploration

Supercomputers cost a lot to make and maintain. But at the same time they also reduce costs in other areas. Take for example oil exploration. Oil exploring companies like ONGC incur a huge expense of $25 million to dig an onshore well and $100 million for an offshore well to explore oil. The company may be successful or it may result in a failure. If it is a failure, the expenses incurred by the company are a waste. But if the company feeds the data of the place where it proposes to dig oil wells like for example temperature, geology, sand, atmosphere etc into a supercomputer, the supercomputer can tell within no time whether there are possibilities of finding the oil. That way, cost is minimised for the oil company. The supercomputer can also suggest where exactly to dig for maximum oil production. A supercomputer can also find the possibilities of life in other planets if the data are fed into it.

Software Part Is Challenging In A Supercomputer

Seymour Cray invented the first supercomputer in 1960 in USA. He also founded his own company Cray Inc which is a dominant player in supercomputers even today. Companies like IBM, HP and research institutions also make supercomputers. The designing of a supercomputer is not very tough from the hardware point of view. Assembling different components of hardware can be performed by trained engineers. The most challenging task is the software part of it. The software should be designed in such a way to make the supercomputer make optimum use of the hardware. A high tech expertise in designing system is required to achieve this. Technology architecture poses a stiff challenge. Finally integrating all these things into one single supercomputer is a marvellous piece of achievement which only very few can do. USA is the leader in supercomputers as it has 274 of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world.

What Will Happen If Terrorists Acquire A Supercomputer?

Finally, before ending this article, one big question should be addressed. If terrorists possess a supercomputer, what will happen? It will be the most dangerous proposition even to imagine. It is much more dangerous than a few nuclear bombs falling into the terrorists’ hands. Terrorists can clearly assess what are the vulnerable areas for attack with the help of a supercomputer. Once the required data are fed into it, the supercomputer will automatically tell which place to attack and when to attack. Terrorists’ task will be made easier. World over, terrorist attacks will multiply. A supercomputer can even suggest airport security lapses. A supercomputer can precisely analyse and assess vital installations like airports, seaports, defence headquarters, power stations, supermarkets where crowd gather and other vital places. Therefore it is vital to see that a supercomputer does not fall into the hands of any terrorist organization because that will spell the end of the world.

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Comments 5 comments

tom_caton profile image

tom_caton 4 years ago from The Desk

Re Terrorists using a supercomputer, to have a computer make those kind of calculations, you would need someone equal to the task of creating such programs. I believe there are few in the world who could run a supercomputer to it's full potential


ramkimeena profile image

ramkimeena 4 years ago from India Author

Dear tom_caton,

I thank you for your valuable comments.I agree with your observations fully. But then the thief is always cleverer than the police.

Best wishes to you,


tom_caton profile image

tom_caton 4 years ago from The Desk

Well, the thief that gets away with it anyway. Besides which, supercomputers take up a LOT of space. It would probably need to be a case of the complex storing the computer being taken over, or infiltrated. That would need top happen from within, I understand the security measures on these machines are massive, as they should be considering their worth, monetarily and intellectually.


ramkimeena profile image

ramkimeena 4 years ago from India Author

Dear tom_caton,

I thank you for your valuable comments.I fully agree with your views. Space and money are no problems to terrorists. The entire Pakistan and Afghanistan are available for the asking. China is prepared to pour in money. Oil rich Arab countries are also ready to help.

Best wishes to you,


Psychsoftpc 4 years ago

We [url=http://www.psychsoftpc.com]Psychsoftpc[/url] make supercomputers and our sales are restricted to US and Canada only.

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