Numerous news reports suggest that China’s Tianhe-1 supercomputer will top the newest ranking of the world’s fastest supercomputers when the list is released tomorrow. It’s not the first time that a non-U.S. machine has led the rankings — the Japanese NEC Earth Simulator led the list as recently as November 2004 — but it does signal that China’s long-term commitment to IT research is beginning to pay serious dividends. From the New York Times coverage:
Over the last decade, the Chinese have steadily inched up in the rankings of supercomputers. Tianhe-1A stands as the culmination of billions of dollars in investment and scientific development, as China has gone from a computing afterthought to a world technology superpower.
“What is scary about this is that the U.S. dominance in high-performance computing is at risk,” said Wu-chun Feng, a supercomputing expert and professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “One could argue that this hits the foundation of our economic future.”
Just another reminder that we can’t assume that the U.S. will always be the home of innovation. Our competitors are increasingly capable, increasingly committed, and investing the resources that make them attractive to the world’s best talent. There’s a lot we can do to stay competitive, but a sustained commitment to research should be at the top of the list….